BRAMPTON, Ontario — Loblaw Cos. here on Monday provided details of what officials called a “groundbreaking” new digital loyalty-marketing program.


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The new program, PC Plus, rewards shoppers with offers based on what they buy most frequently, with an eye on leveraging digital technologies to improve promotional efficiency and effectiveness. Uwe Stueckmann, senior vice president of marketing at Loblaw, described PC Plus as “the first intelligent all-digital loyalty marketing program in Canada,” saying it would drive incremental sales “one customer at a time and one transaction at a time.”

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Speaking on a conference call Monday, Stueckmann said the program would most closely resemble the Just For U program at Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway, which is being rolled out in Canada this year.

 

PC Plus began operations at 44 conventional stores in Ontario earlier this month and will be rolled to additional Loblaw markets in months ahead, officials said.

Loblaw officials said PC Plus differs from other loyalty schemes by offering a more personalized experience offering its best rewards for those who use it the most. Reward thresholds, for example, will differ depending on whether a person is buying for a household or is single, Stueckmann explained. “The more customers shop and interact with the PC Plus program, the more personalized offers become,” he said.

The program will also shield Loblaw from the inefficient effects of wide-ranging promotions.

“Rather than spreading the [promotional] investment against people who aren’t motivated by rewards — because there will be a segment of the population who aren’t — or against cherry pickers who are already buying items at discount in our stores, our program is designed to take away value from people who don’t want that value, and give it to our best customers,” Stueckmann said.

Used in combination with Loblaw’s credit card, which offers a 2% discount at stores already, PC Plus would be “more than competitive” with the 5% discount offered at Target stores though its Red Card, Stueckmann said.

The program will also provide meal recommendations and includes an integrated shopping list. It is smartphone-based, and is a platform for an overarching mobile strategy that officials said would grow over time.

“We believe the smartphone is going to fundamentally change the way people shop,” Stueckmann said.

Loblaw said the introduction would hasten the end of the paper sales flyer, predicting it would have two to five years left.

 

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