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V.I.P. Rewards

MA-based, mall manager WellsPark Group, launched the most comprehensive relationship marketing program ever created by a mall developer yesterday. The ‘V.I.P. Rewards’ program will allow customers to earn points for rewards via in-store data colletion terminals which track cardholders’ purchases with a simple swipe of a membership card. The program will be launched during July at the CambridgeSide Galleria in Cambridge, MA. WellsPark also said it intends to mine the information gathered on customers’ shopping habits via the DCT which will be used to formulate very targeted rewards and customized incentives for customers. The data will be shared with retail partners. More than 2,000 stores at WellsPark Group malls across the country will be linked to a centralized database. The ‘V.I.P.Rewards’ program will complement other WellsPark Group marketing programs, including the Mall V.I.P. Visa (issued by PNC) and the ‘AIM Smart’ interactive shopping and marketing pavilion and ‘Smart Shopper’ for the Internet. The company projects it will sign-up one million cardholders in the first year.

FULL STORY:
WellsPark Group, the largest mall management company in New England with 30 malls nationwide, announced Tuesday the formation of V.I.P. Rewards, the most comprehensive relationship marketing program ever created by a mall developer. The V.I.P. Rewards program will allow customers to earn points for rewards — without saving store receipts — thanks to in-store Data Colletion Terminals (DCTs) which track cardholders’ purchases with a simple swipe of a membership card.

The V.I.P. Rewards customer loyalty program, to be launched in July 1998 at CambridgeSide Galleria in Cambridge, MA, will partner hundreds of stores with WellsPark Group to provide shoppers with incentives and rewards for shopping. The most innovative aspect of the program is the execution of the automatic sales tracking technology in each store. This DCT technology eliminates the need for customers to save and track store receipts. All existing major mall loyalty programs presently require the customers to take store receipts to Customer Service for input and tracking. Information gathered on customers’ shopping habits via the DCT will be used to formulate rewards and incentives best suited for that customer.

“We are the first developer in the country to launch a multi-mall integrated loyalty database program that collects sales data in store electronically,” says Carl Chudnofsky, President of WellsPark Group. “A network of customer information of this magnitude, initiated at the point of sale, is unprecedented. This is a database program that will give us a complete profile of our customer base, allowing us to market to that customer in a customized and sophisticated manner. It also provides valuable demographic and spending profiles to share with our stores and program partners.”

Says Adrienne Davis-Brody, Vice President of Marketing for WellsPark Group, “In real estate, the mantra is location, location, location. In retail, it’s relationships, relationships, relationships. Relationship marketing is a retailer’s best ammunition for creating customer loyalty — it can double and triple the lifetime value of a customer — and for our malls it is the wave of the future.”

Customer reward programs service many industries — be they airlines or supermarkets. But the V.I.P. Rewards program is far more extensive than any other program ever created, linking over 2,000 stores at WellsPark Group malls across the country to a centralized database. Unlike other rewards program, the V.I.P. Rewards program requires no messy exchange of receipts. Customers simply sign up to receive a V.I.P. Rewards card, which is presented at time of purchase for immediate electronic credit.

Members of the V.I.P. Rewards program will accrue points for every dollar spent at stores in WellsPark Group malls. Point levels are assessed every six months. Customers receive gifts based on level of points accrued, such as Reebok sneakers, free telephone time, hotel stays, restaurant meals and much more. In addition, on an ongoing basis, V.I.P. Rewards customers will receive bonus points, gift certificates, automatic entry into sweepstakes, special discounts, free gift wrap, free stroller usage, and coat & package check.

The V.I.P. Rewards program will be rolled out to other WellsPark Group malls including Emerald Square in North Attleborough and Northshore Mall in Peabody this summer. V.I.P. Rewards will complement other WellsPark Group marketing programs, like the Mall V.I.P. sm Visa card and the AIM Smart interactive shopping and marketing pavilion – Smart Shopper – which includes free dial-in Internet access. Shoppers will be able to conduct Ecommerce and receive V.I.P. sm Rewards from homes and offices, with the direct, free Internet dial-in connection to their local WellsPark Group mall. Smart Shopper launches with V.I.P. sm Rewards at CambridgeSide Galleria in July. Customer data will be shared between systems. WellsPark Group aims to create a database of more than 1,000,000 customers in the program’s first year.

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