Grand Rapids-based Meijer, founded in 1934, operates more than 200 “one-stop” stores. Photo via fb.com
Meijer’s mPerks program officially has more subscribers than the Republic of Fiji has citizens.
Meijer’s free digital-coupon program reached its one-millionth subscriber after a record setting 101,000 new subscribers joined in December. The program’s 13.7 million redeemed offers have saved customers more than $5 million, according to Meijer.
The mPerks program launched in September 2010 as a Meijer initiative to communicate better with customers and offer a more convenient way to clip coupons, said Michael Ross, Meijer vice president of customer marketing and loyalty.
The has since evolved into Meijer’s ongoing experiment on how businesses should use personalized shopping to benefit customer service.
“It originated as a need for us to communicate with our customers in ways other than traditional media,” he said. “We had to find a tool that allowed us to communicate to them daily in real-time and personalize it for them.”
Here’s how it works: Customers sign up for free at mperks.meijer.com, where they can preview and virtually clip coupons for desired products. The coupons are then stored in the customer’s mPerks account and redeemed when the customer enters their phone number during checkout.
Ross said print coupons are often forgotten or lost, so the digital coupon became the convenient way for Meijer customers to keep their coupons in one place: their mobile device. The mPerks app is available for download on Android and iPhone phones for free.
What Meijer learned, however, was that a customer’s mobile could become more than a place to clip coupons. Ross said it’s a way to personalize shopping needs for the preferences of each individual customer.
The program's evolution snowballed to a point where the growth of subscribers was sometimes 15,000 or 20,000 new subscribers in a single week, he said, with a redemption rate up to four times higher than the national average.
“We’re learning the power of social media,” Ross said. “Digital coupons aren’t a unique idea, but what’s different about us is we’re bringing mPerks to our customers as an evolution based on shopping behaviors and preferences.”
Relying heavily on customer and user feedback, Meijer began to customize coupon offers based on customer shipping preferences.
Coupon deals made the stores more manageable, Ross said, by putting offers in front of customers for items they had been looking to buy.