APT SAYS IT'S TIME TO GET ON-LINE

NEW YORK -- This is the year for marketers to hitch their brands to the rising star of electronic marketing, according to an executive with Advanced Promotion Technologies. "Electronic data base marketing no longer is emerging. It is here now," said Daniel Cope, vice president of manufacturing sales for APT, based in Pompano Beach, Fla. APT plans to install its satellite-based network in more than

NEW YORK -- This is the year for marketers to hitch their brands to the rising star of electronic marketing, according to an executive with Advanced Promotion Technologies. "Electronic data base marketing no longer is emerging. It is here now," said Daniel Cope, vice president of manufacturing sales for APT, based in Pompano Beach, Fla. APT plans to install its satellite-based network in more than 600 supermarkets over the next year, he said. It is now in 121 stores. Cope spoke of these plans at a data base marketing conference here sponsored by the New York-based Strategic Research Institute.

APT's Vision Value System will roll out into 352 Vons Cos. stores in California, 26 Big Bear supermarkets in the Midwest and 53 Furr's supermarkets in the Southwest. Also, APT plans to install the system in at least 200 supermarkets affiliated with Supervalu, the Minneapolis-based wholesaler, according to Cope. There are currently 46 systems in Big Bear, based in Columbus, Ohio; 18 in Albuquerque-based Furr's, and 57 systems split up among 12 other chains. The Vons rollout will follow a one-month trial run in one supermarket. The Vision Value Network is an interactive and multimedia system, using visual, audio and print to communicate with shoppers at checkout lanes. The network can incorporate frequent shopper programs, financial services and paperless coupons, and deliver printed coupons and letters. It can play videos and relay messages from store management.

The satellite allows nearly instantaneous two-way communication between the retailer and an on-line data center. Once a customer swipes a card through the slot, the video machine will flash the coupons, discounts and other information in line with that shopper's buying habits.

Either the manufacturer or the retailer will pay a 1-cent to 9-cent fee per customer, depending on who is running the promotion.

Tests have proved the system to be cost-effective. Results from a one-year test conducted by Nielsen Marketing Research, Northbrook, Ill., showed the program delivered on average a 9.2% increase in market share and a 7.7% increase in dollar volume across all categories tested. Some brands showed sales volume increases as high as 34% in the test, which consisted of 108 brands across 48 categories from several major packaged goods companies.

Part of the network's success is due to changing consumer demographics, according to APT's Cope. "Manufacturers and retailers want loyalty. In the past, loyalty was easy to achieve through traditional mass advertising, merchandising and promotional efforts," said Cope.

But consumers today are "less responsive to mass media approaches, spend less time planning purchases, are less brand- and store-loyal and respond less to promotions," said Cope.