CLEVELAND -- The fourth research council of American Greetings here will expand the scope of its work beyond nonfood to encompass research delving into the development of supermarkets' customer-loyalty programs.
ted the Food Marketing Institute to request that our fourth council expand to the total store." The FMI, Washington, has been an active supporter of the council's work. The project's findings will be presented at the FMI's annual convention in 1999.
Members serving on the fourth council include: Doug Blease, chief operating officer at D&W Food Centers, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Russell Doerk, executive vice president at Gooding's Super Markets, Apopka, Fla.; Donald Fitzgerald, group vice president for nonperishables and logistics at Dominick's Supermarkets, Northland, Ill.; Bill Gilmore, senior vice president for merchandising, marketing and distribution at Sobeys, Stellarton, Nova Scotia; Don Haggen, chairman and chief executive officer of Haggen, Bellingham, Wash.; Ken Martindale, senior vice president for corporate development at Smith's Food & Drug Centers, Salt Lake City; Norman Mayne, vice president and chief executive officer at Dorothy Lane Market, Dayton, Ohio; Thomas Reilly, group vice president for operations of King Kullen Grocery Co., Westbury, N.Y.; and Jenai Wall, president of Foodland Super Market, Honolulu.
Parsons said preliminary research has already begun to define the state of the industry on customer-loyalty programs and to develop in-store tests. Anderson Consulting, Chicago, will do the research work for the project.
"We conducted customer focus groups to determine how they shop and how they feel about shopping and existing frequent-shopper programs, so that we may best leverage consumer needs in our test process," Parsons explained. "Retailer interviews have helped us get our arms around the industry perception of the challenges and opportunities of customer-loyalty programs. Retailers also shared how their programs operate."
The goal of the two-year project is "to provide the industry with a blueprint for any retailer to use in maximizing his frequent-shopper programs," said Parsons.