"If you buy milk for $4 on Tuesday and the provider sells it on Thursday for $3.50, you get an E-mail saying you've got fifty cents in your account based on the fact we put this on sale," said Peter Gruman, president of Accelitec, a vendor involved in the program. "The next time the customer visits the store and taps his loyalty card at the POS, the cashier will see he has fifty cents credit and will ask if he wants to apply it to the sale or let it remain in the account." The program also provides no-questions-asked automated refunds for products with quality problems. If a loyalty card holder finds the milk was sour, he can call the store and ask for a refund, which will also be credited directly to the CRM card.
Shoppers with RFID-enabled loyalty cards from a chain of Washington State grocery stores get their accounts automatically credited the price difference, plus 1 percent, if products they buy go on sale within a week of their shopping trips. Now there's an incentive to use the cards. The program is being trialed at the Top Food & Drug chain, which owns 33 supermarkets in Washington and Oregon under the TOP Food & Drug, Haggen Food & Pharmacy and Larry's Market names.