ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Wegmans Food Markets here is testing a new credit card targeted to business customers and integrated with its electronic frequent shopper program.
Called "Shoppers Club for Business," the program enables corporate customers and not-for-profit organizations to charge purchases while earning the same discounts offered through the chain's "Shoppers Club" card for consumers.
The program, which was introduced in select markets two months ago, also entitles cardholders to charge purchases at Chase-Pitkin Home & Garden Centers here, the home improvement chain owned by Wegmans. The two retailers previously teamed up on another card program by offering stored-value gift cards that carry a cash value of $10 to $250 and can be redeemed for purchases at Wegmans and Chase-Pitkin stores.
The Shoppers Club for Business represents an expansion of Wegmans' electronic frequent shopper program and could lend insight into the purchasing patterns of commercial customers. The chain has been capturing transaction data at the point of sale and tracking consumer shopping patterns since 1990.
"It will be going through a test market protocol for several more months, and if it is as successful as we expect, it will be rolled out big time in the relatively near future," said one Wegmans executive, who requested anonymity.
Wegmans officials involved in the program declined comment. However, when the program was in development, George Hood, director of electronic banking services, indicated
the chain was interested in serving the business customer better. Such customers might include churches and schools as well as small business and corporate accounts.
"We do a great job of addressing the individual customer, but I bet there's a lot of food retailers out there, like Wegmans, who are kind of ignoring the commercial customers already shopping with them," Hood said during a seminar on electronic payment systems held last year. "We're looking at different programs to address that particular customer base."
Shoppers Club for Business currently extends to business customers a line of credit without a finance charge; however, the terms of the arrangement would likely change if the program were rolled out chainwide, according to another source at the company.
Wegmans is promoting the service as a convenient way for business customers to make purchases, earn discounts and streamline cash management. The chain issues billing statements on a weekly or monthly basis.