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Virgin Megastores Launches Loyalty Program

By Oct 18, 2006

Virgin Megastores is rolling out a new loyalty program that rewards customers—based on shopping habits—with points, discounts and entertainment incentives.

Virgin’s V.I.P (Very Important Person) loyalty program, which kicks off this month, lets customers earn two points for every dollar spent at its stores. The points act like cash, which customers redeem for in-store merchandise. Discounts, special promotions and offers will be customized and highly targeted based on members’ tastes and buying habits. The super-slim card offers a wealth of data through a counter-top unit at P-O-P for both the consumer and the retailer. A magnetic strip on the back of each card captures and updates specific data about each transaction, which turns the card into a self-contained database. The front of the card displays points garnered through the most recent purchase, along with other personalized data designed to pique consumers’ interest.

“Our customer is a very savvy one, we have been waiting for a unique loyalty program that doesn’t just consist of promotional gimmicks or bribes to motivate customers in the short-term,” said Dee Mc Laughlin, senior director of marketing, Virgin Entertainment Group, North America. “Our V.I.P. program rewards and stays fresh.”

For instance, an urban music buyer won’t receive offers for a punk rock reward or a film noir buff won’t earn tickets to a science-fiction flick if previous purchases didn’t contain such titles, Mc Laughlin said.

“Our goal is always to give our customers as many options as possible,” she added. “We didn’t want to link our customers to [generic] product redemptions as they are a very eclectic consumer.”

To keep loyalty at the forefront, Virgin will reward shoppers with instant-win prizes at the point of purchase and enter loyalty program members into a sweepstakes each month for a chance to win a host of prizes, Mc Laughlin said.

“The wow factor is in the privileges part of the package,” she said. “We are offering our customers backstage passes to their favorite artist’s shows, tickets to premieres, signed memorabilia from their favorite actors/artists and much, much more. We want our customers to know how much we value them.”

Virgin is testing the program in New York and California and plans to roll it out nationally this month. Customers can sign up for the free program in participating Virgin Megastores.

The effort marks the first loyalty of its kind for the UK-based retailer. Print ads, online materials, street marketing initiatives and in-store signage support. Visible Results USA, Overland Park, KS, supplies the GraphiCard technology.

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