CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co., a 110-store franchisee based here, is retiring its paper trading stamps and installing in-store kiosks for frequent shoppers to redeem their rewards.
"With the paper stamps, people could save toward movies, videos, Burger King, along with a number of other perks and merchandise," said Joseph T. "Buzzy" Newton, president of Piggly Wiggly Carolina. "We didn't want to lose the impact of those unique rewards, but it was time to take them electronic," he said.
Instead of pasting paper stamps into books, customers scan their frequent-shopper card at in-store redemption kiosks to redeem their rewards, called Greenbax. The franchisee plans to install the kiosks in five to 10 more stores this month and expects to complete installation at all stores by the end of the year. Currently about 65 stores have the kiosks.
Customers receive printouts at the kiosks, which they can redeem for items purchased outside of the store, such as movie tickets. For in-store items, such as a set of dishes, the redemption can be done electronically at the checkout.
"It was crucial to get the electronic stamps integrated with our point-of-sale system," said Rich Farrell, vice president of information services. He noted that not only can in-store redemption be done at the point-of-sale, the POS system can now issue a printout after each transaction alerting customers to the number of "stamps" they have accumulated.
The kiosks and database software were provided by Open Systems Solutions Corp., Clearwater, Fla. OSSI is also handling the integration to Piggly Wiggly's POS System, from Buypass Corp., Atlanta, a subsidiary of Electronic Payment Systems, Wilmington, DE.
Customer acceptance has been good so far, Farrell said, noting the appeal of the electronic stamps to younger customers. "And some of our longtime customers used to give the job of pasting the stamps into the books to their kids. Now that the kids have gotten older and don't like doing it any more, they are just as happy to pass along the job to the computer," he said.
"The younger people are so used to electronics everywhere and they are excited about it," Newton added. "And our older customers are taking to it much faster than I thought. Some of these people have been saving stamps for 30 years."