BETTER TARGETING IN THE CARDS

Thanks to technology, the best is yet to come for in-store coupons. ginning to enhance the effectiveness of these promotions. More importantly, they are resulting in new tactics to benefit retailers, manufacturers and consumers.In the future, said Richard George of Philadelphia-based St. Joseph's University, coupons will tie in more with shopping behavior. "For example, reward people who do certain

Thanks to technology, the best is yet to come for in-store coupons.

ginning to enhance the effectiveness of these promotions. More importantly, they are resulting in new tactics to benefit retailers, manufacturers and consumers.

In the future, said Richard George of Philadelphia-based St. Joseph's University, coupons will tie in more with shopping behavior. "For example, reward people who do certain kinds of things, and compensate people who do other kinds of things. It's going to get more sophisticated in terms of targeting."

Such a program is being tested in 4,000 stores operated by Kroger, Food Lion and the Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., a division of Ahold USA. It is a targeted, direct-mail program that ties into shopper data collected from the card-based loyalty program. Consumers receive a mailer with "clipless" coupons. At the store, they receive an electronic discount by buying the products featured and presenting their card at checkout.

"The view of the future is based on frequent shopper profiles. That will be the next generation of in-store coupons," said Lynn Liddle, co-chair of the New York-based Promotion Marketing Association's Coupon Council.

"The trend seems to be to tap into the frequent shopper database and provide a coupon to a consumer, based on knowledge of what we know they want to buy," she said. "Consumers then are getting coupons that are specifically targeted to them because they have to do with their own shopping habits."

After the targeted coupon is redeemed, Crossmark Marketing Agency, Plano, Texas, a sister company to Crossmark Sales, can help trading partners determine the sale effectiveness. What makes this post-analysis possible is tagging each of the promotional tactics beforehand using TDLinx codes from Trade Dimensions. TDLinx is a retail-location database and coding system. It allows Crossmark Marketing to track the effectiveness of promotions down to the store level.

"Our post-analysis can show that a direct-mail coupon or a coupon at checkout may be a better long-term vehicle than FSIs for courting and keeping loyal customers," said Linda Baker, Crossmark Marketing's vice president of consumer and retailer insights. "Retailers and manufacturers need to aggregate all promotional elements and track them down to the store level," she said. "This, however, is a difficult task that requires the advance coding of the appropriate campaign elements."