QFC Shows Cards Do More Than Discounts

Discussion
Jan 23, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Proponents of shopper or loyalty cards have often pointed out that they can be used for more than simply offering product discounts.


One such use, identifying shoppers who purchased a product being recalled, was demonstrated by QFC in response to the Washington State BSE case.


Stores posted signs in meat departments with a phone number shoppers could call to determine if they had purchased beef connected to the USDA recall.


Jeff Burt, vice president of marketing with QFC stores told the Associated Press, “We were trying to do the right thing. We were trying to help a customer feel just a little
bit better.”


One QFC shopper, Brian Weinstein, a lawyer, appreciated QFC’s action and had no concern about his privacy being compromised. “That’s a call to prevent you from poisoning yourself.
If they’d called me, I’d have said thanks for the public service.”


Katherine Albrecht, founder of Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering, remained sketptical. “Sure it would be useful to have someone contact me if I bought
something tainted”, she said. “But at what cost? A total food-supply surveillance network?”


Moderator’s Comment: Are retailers more prepared to take advantage of the capabilities of shopper/loyalty cards with the recent positive example of QFC
in the BSE case?


Sadly, we’re a long way from unleashing the capabilities of loyalty programs whether it is through the use of cards, RFID, or anything else coming down
the pike in the foreseeable future.

George
Anderson – Moderator


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