INDIANAPOLIS -- Mr. D's Food Markets here plans to increase its card-based transactions significantly by early 1998 following the upgrade of its frequent-shopper program next month.
Mr. D's expects the upgrade of its customer loyalty program to increase its card-based transactions by at least 10%.
"Currently, we are seeing our customer card transactions steady in the mid-50% range," said Mark Dietel, president of Mr. D's. "We are hoping to see that number increase to at least 65% by the first quarter of 1998."
The four-store operator began offering a frequent-shopper program last October in order to identify and target its best customers. However, incompatibility issues between the retailer's point-of-sale system and its original loyalty marketing software brought the frequent-shopper program to a standstill.
Though Mr. D's customers could still receive discounts at checkout, the retailer could not record customer purchase behavior. "The inability to collect any data forbids us from moving forward with targeted promotion initiatives," Dietel explained.
Since there has been no customer purchase behavior data collected electronically, Mr. D's has been forced to do mass mailings based on less current mailing lists.
"Not being able to run reports to research basic customer information from our POS units has been frustrating, but we were able to figure out our customer count recently, so that is encouraging," Dietel added.
By the end of August, the retailer will relaunch its frequent-shopper program using a new customer loyalty software package, provided by RMS, Darien, Conn.
"We are excited about kicking off the new software and we hope that the transition is transparent to our customers," Dietel told SN.
According to Dietel, Mr. D's goal is to provide a frequent-shopper program that will benefit both the customer and the retailer.
"There is no question that a frequent-shopper program can make a retailer more profitable," Dietel said. "However, we are also looking forward to running a reliable program with the ability to target and reward our most loyal customers with promotions. In the end, the program will enable us to better gear our marketing dollars to our customers," he added.