How retailers are already being intimate

Alan Mitchell says in his article “Why intimacy is vital to customer relationships” (MW November 12), that only now is the technology emerging to help turn the one-to-one marketing vision into reality for mass-marketers.

He (and many marketers in both retail and manufacturing organisations) would probably be interested to know that it is already passed the “emerging” stage.

It is already working in more than 7,000 supermarkets in the US, tracking the purchase behaviour of 40 million households.

Marketers, both retailer and manufacturer, can talk to individuals as individuals by segmenting a mass-market and reaching it one con-sumer at a time – economically and effectively. Of course, the technological facts are impressive – the largest transactional database (nearly three terabytes) in the world, accessing information down to individual pack, transaction and shopper identity quickly enough to respond before the customer leaves the checkout – but it is the benefits to the participating businesses which make it all worthwhile.

The keys to achieving them are: the sensible use of technology which doesn’t require major investment; ease of use by functions other than IT; incorporation of the process in the normal shopping experience for all shoppers; and the services of experts in loyalty marketing for retailers and manufacturers.

This holy grail of marketing – effective, economical and timely communication with consumers based on their actual purchases in that store – is available now.

Retailers and manufacturers have both been using the system to stay ahead of their rivals in extremely competitive markets in the US – it can do the same for UK companies.

Kevin Mills

Managing director

Catalina Marketing UK

Oxford

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