business news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports this morning that consumers are beginning it utilize store credit cards more, as retailers aggressively promote them.

For example, according to the NYT, Bloomingdale's gives shoppers who charge five pairs of shoes on store cards an additional 25 percent, or $25, off a sixth pair; Pier 1 Imports cardholders who spend at least $1,000 a year get free local deliveries; Neiman Marcus users with 100,000 points can upgrade their Hertz car rentals; Target card customers can donate one percent of what they spend to whichever any nonprofit public or private school they choose.
KC's View:
It seems to us that the key difference these days is that retailers have abandoned the old strategy of giving benefits on first purchases, and instead are rewarding consistent and profitable customers.

That’s a lesson that more retailers ought to learn. With all due respect, that’s what stuck out for us in an announcement yesterday from Meijer Stores that it will launch a private label credit card program in conjunction with GE Consumer Finance.

The new Meijer card is being launched in Detroit and will soon be available in all of its 156 retail supercenters, offering cardholders programs and benefits that include a 10-percent off promotion on their first purchase, a dedicated line of credit and no annual fees.

First purchases are nice. But it’s the 100th purchase, the 1,000th purchase, that really are worth rewarding.