October 14, 2004, 12:00 AM

A loyalty program that goes from web to store and back again

Kroger, Gatorade and ESPN team up on a promotion that earns registered shoppers points toward ESPN gear when they buy Gatorade at Kroger.

An online promotion isn’t unusual. But how about a program that creates loyalty by driving consumers from the Internet to the store and back again, without requiring them to jump through multiple registration hoops? CoolSavings Inc. recently wrapped up a continuity program on a promotion involving Kroger, Quaker Oats Gatorade and ESPN. Shoppers entered the program online at participating Kroger retailer Web site. To enter, they provided their loyalty number and also had to be a member of Kroger`s Internet Coupons program, in which coupons selected at the Kroger web sites are automatically transferred to loyalty cards.

Buying any participating Gatorade products while shopping with the Kroger loyalty card allowed the consumer to automatically earn points that could be redeemed for Gatorade/ESPN gear. In addition to raising category awareness and brand awareness within the category, it gave Kroger the opportunity to pursue another goal: that of driving consumers to Kroger.com. That not only introduced them to the site, but by registering and using their Kroger card, it allowed Kroger to launch an ongoing interactive relationship with them over time, says CoolSavings CEO matt Moog.

“Those consumers are now in the Kroger e-mail database, which CoolSavings manages for Kroger. Kroger is now able to identify their purchase behavior down to the product level. And using our technology, they can then target individual offers to those consumers using the electronic coupon infrastructure,” he says.

While Moog didn’t disclose specific results, he did say the program met or exceeded its objectives and that the retailer and the brands are interested in exploring similar programs in the future. “They are extremely happy,” with program results, he says.

Moog notes that grocery store sweepstakes and contests tied to specific products are typically implemented by requiring the consumer to cut something out – like a box top -- fill it out, and put it in the mail. On the other side, he points out, the process requires the fulfillment party to process what the consumer sends in, track and count it, and notify consumers by mail. “In this case, all the consumer had to do was register their frequent shopper card once,” Moog says. “They then get statements online telling them how much they have earned, and they can choose their award online and redeem online. It’s more effective for consumers and faster to launch and administer for the CPG brand.”

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