Carrefour Promotes iWish as Loyalty Pragram

CenCar Co, the local operator of Carrefour hypermarkets, is stepping up its customer loyalty and retention programmes to better compete with rivals Tesco Lotus and Big C.

CenCar merchandising director Prapaphan Ploysaengngam (centre), announces more promotions for ‘I Wish’ cardholders yesterday.

The launch of membership cards by major retail players has intensified in recent years.
Central Retail Corporation pioneered the innovation locally with the introduction of by Tops Supermarket’s Spot Rewards in June 2004 followed by The 1 Card for the other CRC brands in 2006 ago.

Carrefour introduced its I Wish card in 2007. The Mall Group started its M Card loyalty programme earlier this year. A few months later Tesco Lotus and Big C Supercenter introduced the Club Card and Big Card, respectively.

Currently, CenCar has 1.6 million I Wish cardholders and expects the figure to rise to 2 million members by the year-end. Of the 1.6 million members, about 60% are active and spend an average 800 baht per shopping trip.

CenCar initially planned to spend 140-150 million baht to promote sales in the fourth quarter, said merchandising director Prapaphan Ploysaengngam. But, almost one-third of the budget, or 50 million baht, will now be allocated to the Carrefour Month 2009 campaign which runs from tomorrow until Oct 29.

The promotion offers I Wish cardholders discounts between 3% to 100% on their next purchase at 37 stores nationwide.

Apart from giving discounts, all vendors at Carrefour shopping centres will for the first time join a campaign and offer giveaways and promotional items to shoppers. “It is difficult to draw new customers to shop at our stores and it is more difficult to retain our existing customers particularly when the economy is weak,” Ms Prapaphan said.

With the new campaign, CenCar expects to boost the number of loyal customers to 70%, up from current 60%.

For its expansion plan, the company will officially open its 37th Carrefour branch in Lop Buri today. Two outlets will be opened in Lam Luk Ka, Pathum Thani next month and in Chumphon province in December, increasing the total store count to 39 by the year-end.

Combined, the three new stores will cost 1.5 billion baht and hire 600 new jobs. Each outlet has 6,000 square metres of retail space.