REMKE: CRM PILOT HAS REDEEMING QUALITIES

COVINGTON, Ky. -- Remke's Markets here recently concluded a test of a new customer relationship management program that resulted in extraordinarily high redemption rates among existing customers.The customers hadn't previously used the various products, categories or store departments tested.The main benefit to Remke was the program boosted sales by appealing to people already shopping its stores

COVINGTON, Ky. -- Remke's Markets here recently concluded a test of a new customer relationship management program that resulted in extraordinarily high redemption rates among existing customers.

The customers hadn't previously used the various products, categories or store departments tested.

The main benefit to Remke was the program boosted sales by appealing to people already shopping its stores rather than just switching consumers of competing products, said Pat Iasillo, director of customer relationship marketing for the seven-store independent.

The redemption rates were consistently two to three times higher than a control group of customers who had previously bought the products, Iasillo said.

The incremental sales also came without resorting to the much higher expense of trying to attract new customers into the stores, he added.

Remke tested Promo Coach, a predictive modeling feature of the Allegiance customer relationship management program from Triversity, Toronto, over a six-month period starting in January.

Iasillo will make a presentation on the results of the test at Triversity's user conference in Toronto, Sept. 12 to 14.

"It gets us as a retailer away from trading sales of one item for another, just going after a competitor's product," Iasillo told SN. "It actually gives us the ability to expand the category."

In the test, consumers identified by Promo Coach as non-users of a product -- but with similar purchase habits as people who do buy the product -- were sent the same coupon offer as people who did buy the product, Iasillo said.

Remke ran the test in three five-week periods: before, during and after the promotion.

Remke runs both Promo Coach and Allegiance on an application service provider basis, meaning that the software resides on Triversity's servers and the retailer accesses the program over the Internet.

The retailer is continuing to use the program following the test.

Bandler and Iasillo declined to say how much Remke paid for Allegiance.