Kmart Mails to 10 Million of Its Most Loyal

Kmart sent a “thank you” mailer to 10 million customers who made purchases at its stores in the past three months.

“We want to [reach] those people who stood by us while we filed for Chapter 11 and use the campaign to show them that we appreciate them,” said Dave Karraker, director of marketing communication at Kmart. “With the store improvements and changes we have made, we want to first focus on those who were loyal to us and invite them to our stores and experience the new Kmart.”

The Troy, MI-based retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January.

Karraker said the goal is to solidify Kmart as the shopping preference among these customers and increase their frequency of shopping at its stores.

Kmart selected the names from credit card databases.

The self-mailer opens into six sections. The front panel reads: “We'll be the first to admit, it hasn't been easy these past few months. But you've stood by us day in and day out, showing your support by continuing to shop our stores. And we appreciate that. So, to say thanks a bunch, we're offering some incredible deals for you and your family. Stop by during Customer Appreciation Days, June 1-8, 2002 and find out how much you really mean to us.”

Among the items featured in the piece are products on sale, pharmacy promotions, prizes offered for in-store events and mentions of savings on product lines from Martha Stewart, Jaclyn Smith and Kathy Ireland.

Another panel tells customers to visit a Pepsi display at Kmart stores June 1-8 for the chance to win a life-size Britney Spears stand-up poster. Customers also can register to win online.

Despite being a “thank-you” mailer, the only coupon is from Kodak for film developing. All the other sales in the mailer are available to all customers who visit Kmart stores, not just those who receive the mailer.

Karraker would not discuss the campaign's cost but said the company thought it needed to do such a large mailing at this time.

“The campaign is going to be effective in driving traffic to our locations,” he said. “And we believe it will be worth the price in the end.”

Another direct mail campaign is planned, though Karraker said he had no details about the size or time frame.

Ad agency Meridian, Detroit, worked with Kmart on the campaign.

Meanwhile, Kmart dropped newspaper circulars to 50 million homes over the weekend of June 1 to attract new customers as well as those who might have stopped shopping when the retailer filed for Chapter 11.

“We also hope to reach those people through mass consumer media such as radio commercials,” he said. “Once we get further through the restructuring process we will consider running campaigns that will target our competitors' shoppers.”

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