TOP Food & Drug Tests Enriched Rewards Card
By Tom Ryan
TOP Food & Drug, a banner operated by Haggen out
of Bellingham, WA, has been testing a new loyalty card program that it
hopes provides more than just discounts to its best shoppers. Employing
RFID technology, the card links to an internet-based system to offer recall
notifications as well as refunds in the case of price-drops following a
purchase or for spoiled items.
director of TOP development at Haggen, told RFID
Journal that the chain had not previously used a rewards program because
it found such cards primarily provided discounts at the point-of-sale.
It was seeking a more “personalized” approach for its customers.
“This stems from wanting to add value,” she
said. “We wanted to establish an open communication with our guests.”
Accelitec’s president, Peter Gruman,
said the system so far offers three key elements:
Low-price guarantee: Customers
are automatically credited whenever an item’s price is reduced within seven
days. The credit is applied to the shopper’s next purchase cost.
Automatic refunds for spoiled product: For instance, if a customer discovers that a gallon
of milk had gone bad, she can call the store, provide her card ID number
and receive a credit automatically.
Automatic recall notification: Customers are sent an alert to a recalled
product either by phone, text message or email.
The card also enables customers to manage
their shopping experience online, including inputting a shopping list and
tracking previous purchases. Mr. Gruman noted
that if the store installs a monitor and RFID interrogator at its entrances,
a customer could access her shopping list upon arrival to learn where needed
items are located and which brands are on sale.
Four stores have been testing the cards since
last fall. Once the test is completed this spring, it may be rolled out
to its remaining 14 locations. Approximately 60 percent of the four TOP
stores’ customers have signed up to use the card since September, with
several hundred new applicants added each week. “We feel the program
has been very successful,” stated Ms. Mallahan.
“I think we’ve just scratched the surface as to what we can do with
Not surprisingly, the card does have some
discount component. TOP initiated a promotion in which the retailer sent
some of its customers an email stating that if they visited the store
within 48 hours and spent $25, they would earn an extra $5 discount at
the point of sale.
Discussion Question: What do you think of TOP
Food & Drug’s effort to introduce a loyalty card offering amenities
beyond POS discounts? Which added feature do you think provides most
value to customers? What else could the card be offering?