What Meijer has Learned From its Mobile Initiatives
How Meijer, a regional American hypermarket chain based in Walker, Mich., uses mobile marketing was the subject of a well-attended session at the Direct Marketing Association's Retail Marketing Conference 2010 in Orlando last month.
During the presentation, Tim Baumgardner, director of media/advertising for the superstore chain, discussed a few of its succesful mobile programs.
Meijer's first foray into the space was its "gas alerts" program, a free early warning system sent to consumers warning of gas price spikes. Meijer sends text messages to participating mobile phone users two hours before prices increase at the retailer's gas pumps. The program was started as a test in Indianapolis and western Michigan in 2007; it now boasts 30,000 members in each state where Meijer has gas stations — Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.
Users can sign up for the service in one of the following two ways:
- visit Meijer.com/text/ and follow the instructions; or
- on your cell phone, text "gas" and your five-digit ZIP code to 634537 (Meijer). For example, gas43614.
To ensure users receive information about prices closest to their homes, they're required to submit a five-digit ZIP code.
When gas prices are changed with less than a two-hour notice, messages won't be sent because company officials don't want to encourage unsafe driving by motorists racing to the station before prices rise. The text messages are designed to boost sales of gas and other products at the chain's convenience stores.
In 2009, Meijer introduced its "Mobile Alerts" program, an SMS program that promotes exclusive offers and corporate events.
"We promote credit card discount days, e-commerce promo codes and one-day sales events with this program," Baumgardner said.