QUINCY, Mass. -- Stop & Shop here has launched a free online program that generates lists of personalized weekly promotions for loyalty card shoppers based on their historical shopping patterns.
The program closely follows a similar effort by Harris Teeter started late last year. The two programs are thought to be among the first of their kind in the industry.
Under a banner on its Web site (www.stopandshop.com) announcing "You've Got Savings," Stop & Shop tells its loyalty card holders how to find out "which of your favorite items are on sale weekly at your preferred store." Stop & Shop launched its program in late January.
In the program, customers type in their loyalty card number and the address of the store they most commonly shop. Then, a personal circular of weekly specials is created. Customers can also receive an e-mail alert that contains sample items from their personal circular.
Rick Stockwood, a spokesman for Stop & Shop, called the personal online circular "an opportunity for our customers to plan their shopping lists at home."
The online system was developed by Cuesol, Quincy, Mass., the developer of the "Shopping Buddy" system being tested at three Massachusetts Stop & Shop stores, according to Mike Grimes, vice president of sales and marketing, Cuesol.
The Shopping Buddy is a computerized tablet attached to the shopping cart that displays promotions and other information to customers as they shop the store. Grimes said a future version of the Shopping Buddy would display the personalized shopping lists created by loyalty shoppers at home.
Ken Wyker, president of Charlotte, N.C.-based Circular Logic, developed the Harris Teeter program, e-VIC, and is managing it.
Wyker said the program, now in full deployment at Harris Teeter, "helps retailers who are spending millions of dollars on print ads increase the effectiveness of their ads." Customers, who receive e-mails each Wednesday, are given "a personalized reason to visit the store that week," he said.
To keep the size of the e-mail manageable, Harris Teeter only features nine of the personalized specials. A shopper can click on a link to go to the chain's Web site and see the complete list. Clicking on any item on the Harris Teeter Web site automatically adds it to a shopping list.
Both Stop & Shop and Harris Teeter are promoting the new programs primarily on their Web sites.
In a related development, Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Super Markets has begun posting localized weekly newspaper circulars online. Customers who visit www.publix.com can type in their ZIP code or the city they live in to find the ad specific to the store they shop. The site remembers a customer's selected store and brings up that store's ad on subsequent site visits.
Publix spokesman Lee Brunson said the electronic ads "will help customers save time shopping." Brunson said many customers requested the service.