NEW ORLEANS -- The Farmer Jack division of A&P, Fleming Cos. and PSK Supermarkets, dba Foodtown, were among the big winners of the annual Global Electronic Marketing Awards presented at the Global Electronic Marketing Conference (Gemcon) here.
In its fourth year, three new awards were added to the Gemcon program: best supporting electronic-marketing vendor, and separate retail categories for U.S. and non-U.S. retail chains. Formerly, the retail awards had been dominated by independents.
"The independents seem to have an edge on the chains when it comes to loyalty marketing," said Carlene Thissen, president of Retail Systems Consulting, Naples, Fla. "Electronic marketing may be the only area where the chains have trouble competing with independents," added Mike Gorshe, executive director of the food-industry program at Andersen Consulting, Chicago. Andersen sponsored the awards.
Farmer Jack, Detroit, was recognized as Best U.S. Chain Retailer for its Baby Bonus Savings Club. This is an electronic loyalty program designed to appeal to young families with infants and small children. The club includes an electronic marketing card, a direct-mail Baby Club Magazine and a baby birthday card. Related to the program, Farmer Jack also is the exclusive grocery sponsor for a large baby shower show.
"The program has effectively stopped the erosion of the baby-food channel of trade from mass merchandisers and has shifted it back to Farmer Jack," Gorshe said. "The Farmer Jack baby aisle is now a destination location for almost 50% of young families with children in southeastern Michigan."
Recognized as Best Wholesaler, Fleming Cos., Oklahoma City, not only offers a frequent-shopper program, but an electronic "non-frequent shopper" program, Gorshe noted. Fleming supports its retailers' use of frequent-shopper cards, electronic discounts, short-term points programs, percent-off programs based on spending and electronic sweepstakes, among others.
As a result of combining two retailer advertising groups comprising a total of 50 stores and using a program called "Greenbacks," the retailers involved saw a 10% increase in overall sales and a 20% sales increase for the top third of the customer base. "This increase in the top customer base has been sustained even with increased competitive activity in the Oklahoma market," Gorshe said.
PSK Supermarkets, dba Foodtown, Mount Vernon, N.Y., was given the award for Best Independent Retailer for the speed and effectiveness with which it implemented its loyalty program, based on S&H Greenpoints. Within a year, eight of the company's 11 stores had 80% of their business on the Foodtown Club card, said Gorshe. "This is something many retailers take years to accomplish," he added.
A second-place honoree in the independent-retailer category was also recognized during the awards luncheon at the conference: Felice Valuland and Felice Family Food Centers, Waterford, Mich. Felice uses its point-of-sale system to inform customers of point balances, to deliver awards at the end of continuity promotions and to ask consumers for updated address information.
Two international retailers were also recognized: Migros Switzerland for Best Non-U.S. Large Retailer, and Auto Mercado of Costa Rica for Best Non-U.S. Independent Retailer. Migros' Cumulus program has a primary goal of cross selling nonfood categories, Gorshe said. "A corresponding effect is that sales in food categories increase because customers want to accumulate as many points as possible to spend on attractive nonfood offers." At Auto Mercado, "the Auto Frecuente program has become the core marketing strategy and is fully supported by all areas of the company and its suppliers," he said.
Among the suppliers, Nestle, Glendale, Calif., was honored as Best Consumer Products Manufacturer for its "Very Best Baby" promotion.
Other vendor award recipients were xiNETix, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for Best Electronic Marketing Vendor, and Trade Dimensions, Wilton, Conn., for Best Electronic Marketing Support Vendor.
Gemcon is a joint conference put on by Retail Systems Consulting and the Grocery Manufacturers of America, Washington, and is supported by the Food Marketing Institute, also in Washington.