Follow thy Customer

ShopRite grocery stores have just started beaming customized ads to shoppers through their computerized shopping carts – as part of a Microsoft Atlas technology roll-out.

Microsoft will deliver the ads based on data obtained from ShopRite’s customer loyalty cards, according to the companies. When shoppers scan their cards on the computerized shopping carts, they will see ads and promotional offers on the screen based on their purchasing histories.. 

Most retail stores track customers’ path through the store to gauge effectiveness of various displays and product placements – mostly as passive observation to help with merchandising and advertising – and not for personalized sales and advertising. So, this is a proactive move at influencing customer behavior while shopping and not the usual attempt made with discount coupons spewing out of the printer at the checkout lane.

This story reminded me of the sophistication that some Casinos had put into place almost two years ago. At Harrah’s

Gamblers don’t just win money when they play at one of Harrah’s 26 casinos. When they swipe their loyalty cards, they’re also eligible to win a variety of perks, from appetizers to Swedish massages, depending on their level of spending and the information Harrah’s has collected about them. …..Data from low-rollers also convinced Harrah’s to redesign its casino floors to include, for example, a higher percentage of lower denomination slot machines and video poker games—for a 12 percent hike in slot revenues.

Loyalty programs of various kinds need not be just a mechanism to track and reward repeat customers. If technology is used appropriately, a loyal customer can now be tracked through the shopping experience and also through the service delivery experience. A very comprehensive set of data can then be collected at that micro-level of interaction – analyzed at an aggregate – allowing new products, services, marketing and attention to be delivered seamlessly back to the customer at the individual level.

Customer and Seller can now be engaged in a longer relationship, learning from each other and helping each other be more efficient, effective and profitable.