OKLAHOMA CITY -- Homeland Stores here is refining its new frequent shopper program to offer the highest level of discounts to the most loyal customers.
The retailer will begin analyzing data from the program by late December to determine which cardholders shop most frequently or spend a large amount of money at Homeland stores each month. These consumers then will be targeted with further discounts at the point of sale.
"We plan to do more multitiered discounts than what we're currently doing," said Bill Rulla, vice president of management information services.
For example, a future Homeland promotional item may cost nonmembers 99 cents, frequent shopper members 79 cents and "most valuable" members only 49 cents, he said.
"We give frequent shopper customers the deeper discounts," he added.
The retailer launched a pilot test of its card-based program last month in 11 Texas stores and eventually plans to roll out the program to all its 75 stores, possibly over the next year.
"It will take 90 days [after the program's launch] before we have data that's even worth looking at," Rulla told SN. "We plan to use it at the individual customer level as well as a more general level."
Segregating consumers by frequent shopper data also opens the door for future card applications, including electronic checking, he said. Homeland intends to offer the service once all stores go on line with the frequent shopper program.
To enroll in the program, consumers "will give us a voided blank check that goes through our clearinghouse and gets their identification and their checking account set up in the clearinghouse," Rulla said.
"When a customer uses their [frequent shopper] card as a check, they scan their card, it's sent to the clearinghouse electronically and it clears like a regular check, with three days' float," he added.
The retailer contends that the use of an electronic clearinghouse should result in a lower rate of check fraud, Rulla said.
The electronic check should speed up throughput at the front end as well, while reducing paperwork for cashiers at the end of their shift, he said.
The retailer launched its frequent shopper program last month in stores in Amarillo, Borger, Canyon, Dumas, Hereford and Pampa, Texas. Those stores are in an isolated marketplace for Homeland, which targets them with different television and newspaper advertisements than the rest of its stores.