Ace Hardware, TargusInfo make loyalty easier

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Ace Hardware Corp. has begun using TargusInfo's On-Demand Insight tools to better manage its card-based loyalty program.

With TargusInfo, Ace Hardware employees need only collect customers' phone numbers at the point of sale to sign them up for an Ace Rewards Card. TargusInfo's On-Demand Identification services then use the numbers to automatically capture other contact information, like e-mail and mailing addresses, which Ace uses to communicate to customers. Ace Hardware's primary targets are homeowners, ages 35-54.

“In the old world, customers would have to fill out a hard copy application for Ace Rewards, and that takes some time,” said Cari Elder, CRM promotions specialist, Ace Hardware. “Now, using TargusInfo, we just need that 10-digit phone number, and it's like a reverse telephone append — there's no manual work for the customer.”

By speeding up the Ace Rewards application process, TargusInfo makes it possible for Ace to communicate with new members sooner. Setting up the Ace Rewards account at point of purchase also ensures that Ace can gather the customer's purchase information from the get-go, thereby improving its knowledge of consumer preferences and buying habits.

“Millions of customers know Ace is the helpful place and we're inspired to help them drive more repeat business,” said Paul McConville, executive director, TargusInfo, in a statement. “The Ace Rewards program is an excellent example of a company providing better customer service while improving the customer analysis that feeds it. The more customers Ace enrolls in the program, the better informed its marketing becomes.”

Elder agreed, “Our main goal is scanning that rewards card. Once they scan the card, we've got the purchase data and customer data, so we can more relevantly communicate to the customers.”

E-mail and direct mail currently make up the bulk of Ace Hardware's direct marketing to its 16 million loyalty members. Elder said the retailer also plans to test mobile marketing. Ace gathers Reward card information both in-store and through online sales.

Ace Hardware operates 4,600 retail locations, which generate annual sales of more than $12 billion. Most stores participate in the 10-year-old Ace Rewards program. Ace works with Targus on other data-related initiatives as well.

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