HARRIS TEETER PERSONALIZES E-MAIL OFFERS

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Harris Teeter here has launched a personalized e-mail discount program for its VIC loyalty shoppers, which will alert them to weekly specials for products they customarily buy.VIC cardholders can opt in to the free program, dubbed E-VIC, on Harris Teeter's Web site, to receive up to nine targeted offers in an e-mail every Wednesday. E-VIC matches the products customers purchase

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Harris Teeter here has launched a personalized e-mail discount program for its VIC loyalty shoppers, which will alert them to weekly specials for products they customarily buy.

VIC cardholders can opt in to the free program, dubbed E-VIC, on Harris Teeter's Web site, to receive up to nine targeted offers in an e-mail every Wednesday. E-VIC matches the products customers purchase most often -- both national-brand and store-brand items -- with weekly VIC sale items. The program began this month.

"Enrolled customers will see only specials on products they regularly buy," according to a statement from Harris Teeter. "It's like having a personal shopper scan the weekly ad, and identify the best deals." If shoppers want to see additional specials, they can click on a list of all weekly specials.

"What they see in their e-mails is genuinely personalized," said Ken Wyker, owner of Wyker Marketing, Charlotte, N.C., which is conducting the program for Harris Teeter. The e-mails, he noted, are not simply clustered for a category of consumers like those who are health-oriented, he said.

Wyker formerly managed Food Lion's MVP loyalty program, and realized that grocers needed to leverage their loyalty data to drive more business into the store. Wyker's software analyzes Harris Teeter's loyalty data, combines it with weekly ad specials, and segments the top items based on customer purchases.

"Retailers invest a lot of money in a weekly ad," Wyker said. With the program, "they can take all that effort and leverage it so that every single week of the year, they give their customers a reason to go to the store."

In Harris Teeter's weekly E-VIC ad, shoppers can also click on the "Create Shopping List" link within the e-mail to be connected to Harris Teeter's Shopping List Web site. At the site, users click on a photo of the product they are interested in, automatically adding it to their personalized shopping list.

Harris Teeter is assuring shoppers that their privacy will be protected, and promises that "no customers will receive unsolicited e-mails."