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Know Thy Customer

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Carving market niches is not a new sales approach. Neither is personalizing a buying experience. Take I love that Amazon knows what I’ve purchased and makes suggestions. Sometimes it’s overwhelming and a little like Big Brother is watching me, but I feel as if Amazon knows me. (I know they really don’t know me, but they know my buying patterns.)

Grocery stores are a more recent entry into the “knowing you” marketplace. Grocery stores have long provided demographically based coupons, deals and promotions. But now Safeway (one of the largest grocery chains where I live) has started a program with special, personalized pricing called “Just for U.”

Beyond tracking my purchases (via my Safeway store card) and providing competitive-brand coupons, the grocery giant is now reaching out to me with Just for U—and it does feel like it is “just for me.”

Focus on Your Existing Customer. At Safeway, the focus is on existing customers. Steve Burd, Safeway CEO, was quoted in a recent issue of the San Francisco Business Times. He said, “We’re finding that our more loyal customers are bigger users of Just for U than our less loyal, occasional shoppers. The two markets that we have Just for U, in a non-advertised, non-promotional fashion, are the two markets where we’ve gained the most market share.”

How I Knew: I wondered why I received a valuable coupon in the mail one day—one I had never seen before. It was printed on a large fold-over card and entitled me to $20 off a purchase of their quality meats. That’s a reward I paid attention to. I used it, and I bought a lot more than just the meat. Even the store employees were curious how I received such a great offer. “It came in the mail,” I said. Just for me.

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Joanne Black is a professional sales speaker, sales webinar leader, and author of “No More Cold Calling: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust” from Warner Business Books. Visit © Copyright 2011 Joanne S. Black. All rights reserved.


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