MILWAUKEE -- Roundy's division here is rolling out satellite communications technology to augment electronic marketing efforts and support other new initiatives.
The satellite network, to be rolled out to 26 stores next week, will provide systemwide access to customer transaction histories collected via a new kiosk-based targeted marketing program.
A total of 65 units, primarily Pick 'N Save stores in the Milwaukee market, are to be hooked up by July, according to Tom Wiesner, director of merchandising.
Going forward, Roundy's will expand satellite-driven applications to include check authorization, credit and debit transactions, centralized video rental, e-mail and host-to-store communications such as price changes, according to a source at the company.
Although the program currently involves Roundy's Milwaukee division only, the Pewaukee, Wis., cooperative wholesaler will likely consider implementing satellite-driven applications at other company divisions, Wiesner said.
Pilot testing was nearing completion last month and officials are now comparing satellite network costs and response rates with its land-based leased line configuration. Preliminary results of the program were to be shared with other Roundy's divisions next week.
The Milwaukee division's frequent shopper program, which last fall added kiosks that generate printed lists of customer-specific discounts, will be the first application to be linked to the satellite network.
The stores communicate with a shared satellite hub located in Minneapolis through very small aperture terminals installed at each location. The satellite network provider is Hughes Network Systems, Germantown, Md.
Once the satellite network is in place this summer, all stores will gain access to a centralized data base containing shopping histories of card holders.
"The satellite tracking network will maintain consistency between stores by allowing customers to receive a targeted list of discounts regardless of which stores they shop" within the Milwaukee division, said Joe Wood, marketing manager.
At store kiosks, customers scan their frequent shopper cards to receive customized lists of electronic discounts based on their previous purchases. The data is transmitted to the point-of-sale and discounts are automatically applied when the shopper presents his card.
The targeted marketing program is called Advantage Rewards and the kiosk software is provided by Micro Enhancement International, Spokane, Wash.
"With Advantage Rewards, we now have the capability to give our customers timely and meaningful offers, while measuring Roundy's and the manufacturer's attempts to influence their purchasing behavior" through targeted offers, said Wiesner.