Virgin Entertainment debuts new Loyalty Program

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Virgin Entertainment Group will unveil its new V.I.P. loyalty program later this month in select Virgin Megastores in an effort to invest in its customers even as many critics doubt the future of music retail.

The new program, branded the V.I.P. (Virgin Important Person) card, carries the tag line, "It's not the size of your V.I.P.-ness, it's how you use it."

The program, which is free to join, will offer customers a unique point/reward program, special discounts and entertainment incentives such as backstage passes, concert tickets and instant prizes.

Customers join the program in-store and receive their V.I.P. card on the spot. Points earned on every transaction at Virgin Megastores are instantly displayed on the face of the member's card, along with their new points balance and the points required to reach the next reward level.

Virgin Megastores and Virgin Megastores Online are companies of Los Angeles-based Virgin Entertainment Group, the multichannel music and entertainment retailer.

The V.I.P. program is based on the GraphiCard technology and customer relationship management system from Overland Park, KS-based Visible Results USA Inc., the U.S.-based division of the Visible Results Group of Companies, headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand.

Since its inception in 1997, Visible Results is a customer relationship firm, serving a growing client base across convenience, fast food, fuels and the general retail industry. The company currently operates programs in 15 countries globally, including the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, Mexico and parts of South America.

The program provides Virgin Megastores with the ability to collect an extensive array of customer data.

For the first time, Virgin Megastore marketers are able to effectively mine transaction data, profile their customers to determine the products that resonate with particular profiles, and identify their most profitable customers.

Each product, its genre, media type, and a range of other parameters can be automatically matched to the V.I.P. cardholder to facilitate the communication of relevant offers to each segment of the V.I.P. customer base.

The slim Virgin V.I.P. members' cards are inserted into a freestanding counter-top unit at the point-of-sale terminal during each sales transaction.

A thermo-chromic process enables the front of the card to display points garnered through the most recent purchase, along with the other personalized data designed to pique consumers' interest.

A re-writeable magnetic strip incorporated into the back of the card stores specific data about transactions as they occur. It also enables the back of the card to be re-written every time it is presented, turning it into a self-contained database that eliminates extensive, costly systems integration while encouraging repeated use and customer loyalty.

The Virgin V.I.P. program is also structured to give members a point for every dollar they spend while shopping with their V.I.P. card. Every time they use their card, they're automatically entered into a major prize draw with a chance to win high-value prizes. Currently a trip for two to London is offered.

Combining this interactive technology with detailed customer data, Virgin Megastores will be able to ensure their best customers are identified, accounted for and properly recognized every time they use their visit a store, Virgin said.

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