SOBEYS TO INTEGRATE FREQUENT-SHOPPER PROGRAM, POS

STELLARTON, Nova Scotia -- Sobeys here will begin integrating an improved frequent-shopper program into its newly installed open-platform point-of-sale system chainwide this fall.In addition, the open architecture of Sobeys' new POS will allow the retailer to support a variety of other applications, such as labor scheduling and item performance information."The platform allows us to directly integrate

STELLARTON, Nova Scotia -- Sobeys here will begin integrating an improved frequent-shopper program into its newly installed open-platform point-of-sale system chainwide this fall.

In addition, the open architecture of Sobeys' new POS will allow the retailer to support a variety of other applications, such as labor scheduling and item performance information.

"The platform allows us to directly integrate our frequent-shopper program into our POS system, so now we can easily capture our customer purchasing data and target customer-specific promotions," said Wade Taylor, director of retail systems for the 122-store chain.

According to Taylor, the open platform adds to customer service because the POS has access to all purchase information in real time.

"Customers can do their shopping in different stores on the same day and receive up-to-date points on each store's purchase," said a source familiar with the situation.

Once the customer's frequent-shopper card is scanned, a message is sent to Sobeys' host computer to access the customer's point balance and promotions.

"This information is transmitted from the host to the server located in the store, and to the POS the customer is being checked out on," the source said.

"We expect the frequent-shopper program to be live by the fall in stores already equipped with the new POS," Taylor said. "The loyalty program will continue to be integrated as the POS system is rolled out chainwide."

Currently, 41 Sobeys stores have the new POS system. Reportedly, the rollout, which began in one pilot store in November 1995, "is expected to be complete within 13 months," he said.

Sobeys' new personal computer-based POS system, provided by NCR, Dayton, Ohio, includes 14-inch color monitors and thermal printers that print receipts at 600 lines per minute, according to the source.

The improved frequent-shopper application is also provided by NCR.