What Financial Institutions Can Learn from Retailers

I was in Walgreens about a month ago to purchase a sale item. Walgreens had just changed it sale policy, though, and required me to sign up for a reward card to take advantage of the sale price. I’m not a fan of forced card programs, but I agreed because I needed the sale price.

Walgreens did several things right. For starters, it took less than 30 seconds for the sales clerk to find my name in the system and register me for the program. They had my information from when I purchased a prescription probably 10 years ago. Second, Walgreens linked my reward card automatically to an online account I had forgotten about. Third, I got an e-mail about a week later letting me know that linking my online account to my reward card lets me take advantage of sale prices both online and in the store.

Considering how long it has been since I’ve done any substantial business with Walgreens, I was both surprised and impressed with this level of service after a visit to the store.

Tom Thumb (a grocery chain in the Dallas area) has a new program called Just for U, which is linked to its reward card. The program is optional, but those who enroll have the potential to save hundreds of dollars a month. Just for U keeps track of what each customer buys and sends them personalized offers weekly by e-mail. It even compares the personalized prices to Wal-mart’s prices for the same product to show how much money customers are saving…

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