True Value brings payment systems to forefront

Expanding a credit card program while promoting a “stabilized” loyalty card program were among the payment system priorities the Chicago-based co-op presented during its Fall Market in Utah. 

The True Value Co. is asking members to sign up now for a credit card program it intends to launch in 2013.

“We want to launch this program with most of our stores live on the day we launch,” said CEO Lyle Heidemann. “The more stores we have on this program from the start, the more marketing we can put behind it.” 

The program features three new cards to be launched March 2013: a Discover co-branded card, a private label card and a commercial card. Earlier this year, True Value signed a long-term agreement with Alliance Data Systems Corp. to create and manage the programs. 

The cards will provide cash-back incentives. For instance, the co-branded card wil offer 3% back on all purchases in the store, 2% back on gas and grocery and 1% back on all other purchases. The private-label card will offer 3% back on True Value purchases, plus the ability to offer six months no interest plans. 

Blake Fohl, VP marketing and chief customer officer, told retailers that the co-op has made good on its pledge -- made during the Spring Market -- to stabilize the True Value Rewards program. The co-op also brought in Sue Smolenski as a new director of loyalty. Smolenski worked on airline industry loyalty programs in her previous job with United.

“While no technology is perfect, the platform today is stable,” Fohl said.

The program also shows clear benefits, he said. The average transaction for retailers enrolled in the rewards program was more than 11% higher than retailers not enrolled, he said.

The loyalty program cost for co-op members has been reduced dramatically for 2013, he said. Also, no functionality, including trade-area mapping, is in the works.

“You will be able to create pin maps of all of your customers who have made purchases in the last 12 months,” Fohl said.

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