April 30, 2004, 12:00 AM

Schwan entices customers with gifts online—as a loyalty program

Schwans.com is adding more than 400 gift-related SKUs to its online inventory as part of a broader incentive program aimed at rewarding customers who use the Internet to order food from Schwan for home delivery.

 

As a way to enhance merchandising and increase the sale of its home-delivered convenience meals, Schwans.com is expanding into the online gifts category. But the e-commerce arm of The Schwan Food Co., a $3 billion player in the convenience food and home food delivery business, isn’t just adding online gifts as an incremental category. Instead Schwans.com is adding more than 400 gift-related SKUs to its online inventory as part of a broader incentive program aimed at rewarding customers who use the Internet to order food from Schwan for home delivery.

In February, Schwans.com launched the customer rewards program to coincide with the debut of its new gifts portal. Each time shoppers use the web to order food from Schwans.com they also accumulate rewards points which can be redeemed to purchase gifts such as housewares and cooking tools for as much as 50% off the original price. Since the program began more than 300,000 Schwans customers have signed up for the rewards program.

“Gift products add to the diversity of the items offered for sale on our web site, but this is more of an incentive program to keep customers coming back to our web site and reward them for shopping with us,” says Glenn Bader, director of Internet and advanced technology marketing.

Participants in the rewards program earn one point for every dollar they spend on Schwans.com. To promote the program, Schwans has been including details on its new interactive shopping rewards program in the more than 6 million convenience food catalogs it delivers to customers every two weeks. “After the first details appeared in our catalog, we had 50,000 people sign up in the first few days,” Bader says.

Internet retailing is an important channel for Schwan. The web has come to represent about 14% of its home delivery segment, the largest of its three business units that also do grocery store distribution under various brands, as well as institutional sales.

 

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