CLEMENS TO PROFILE FREQUENT SHOPPER

KULPSVILLE, Pa. -- Clemens Markets here will launch a frequent-shopper program this Wednesday that will vastly improve its ability to track and influence consumer purchases.Shoppers will scan their cards at front-end terminals whose multimedia technology will greet the customer by name, display full-motion video and running order totals, and print instant coupons. At the same time, the point-of-sale

KULPSVILLE, Pa. -- Clemens Markets here will launch a frequent-shopper program this Wednesday that will vastly improve its ability to track and influence consumer purchases.

Shoppers will scan their cards at front-end terminals whose multimedia technology will greet the customer by name, display full-motion video and running order totals, and print instant coupons. At the same time, the point-of-sale system will collect the shopper-specific purchasing data.

Clemens will use the system to track frequent-shopper purchases, information that will be loaded into a data base and drawn upon to fuel initiatives like direct mailings and members-only in-store specials.

"By being able to identify who our [valued customers] are, we'll be able to do a better job in the future in target marketing to them, as opposed to the shotgun marketing that is so commonplace right now," said Tom Hughes, director of ad design.

The card-based program will be run on existing debit-card readers in all of the retailer's 14 stores, he said. To enroll in the program, consumers will fill out an application that will help Clemens begin creating market analyses.

"We do ask for some demographic information," Hughes said. "We're trying to get a feel for who our customers are and what some of their purchasing habits are and may be in the future."

By linking consumers with key information, such as the size of their family and whether they own a pet, for instance, Clemens can hone its advertisements to fit a particular consumer.

"Instead of putting out a mass appeal for people to come in and cherry-pick you to death, we'll develop a reward program to compensate our best customers," he added. "We plan in the future to provide special mailings and specific deals to consumers who shop us frequently."

Another benefit consumers who join the program will gain is the ability to accumulate points that can be redeemed for merchandise featured in a gift catalog, Hughes said.

Both the hardware and software that will run the program are manufactured by Advanced Promotion Technologies, Pompano Beach, Fla.

Hughes said that the frequent-shopper data base, once it is accumulated, will be a valuable resource for manufacturers.

"What we're doing right now is selling the program back to manufacturers," he said. "We're laying the entire program out for the vendor community, and allowing them to pick and choose from a menu of options to promote their products."

Instant couponing is a valuable resource for a manufacturer, Hughes added. For example, the system recognizes a shopper who owns a dog and can print an instant coupon for a particular brand of dog food at the point of purchase.

"Now you've actually targeted someone who you know owns a dog and targeted them with a specific purchase incentive for your specific brand," he said.

Such direct marketing will not replace Clemens' traditional advertisements but "hone them into more specific applications," Hughes said.

"It will allow us to shift our marketing dollars," he added. "Once we have a data base built, instead of shotgun marketing the entire area, we'll be able to go back and direct-mail people we know are shopping with us."