Thursday, June 21, 2007

Corporate Culture (and technology) Gone Wrong

Albertson's - Coming of age in an internet world. Image Credit: W=UH

Corporate Culture (and technology) Gone Wrong

Let’s be honest … when a company invests improperly in technology that would have allowed them to compete on an equal footing with the other players in the marketplace the worst things can happen.

Albertson’s never had a clue that after it purchased Lucky Stores that it now had to finally jump into the “discount club” fray along with Ralph’s and Vons. The management put off the decision for the longest time but finally had to submit to the competitive pressure.

The problem was that they bought off on technology that was "on the cheap"! The loyalty/discount cards they had purchased placed the unique barcode information for each customer on the surface of the plastic that the card or key-fob was made of … as opposed to having the image embedded or otherwise protected by the plastic cover.

The barcode information began to rub off immediately upon issue and after awhile became unreadable by the barcode reader. This left the job to the cashier who had to manually enter the data in order to allow the customer to accrue loyalty points and achieve a discount.

It gets worse – Albertson’s will now totally abandon the “discount/loyalty” program with the excuse (spin) that they are opening up the discounts to everyone … sound familiar? It should. That is what they told all of the shoppers as the excuse as to why they did not have a loyalty program … just after they had purchased Lucky Stores.

Really, this is about corporate culture and how it can go all wrong.


News Item from The Salt Lake Tribune -

No more 'Preferred Card' at Albertsons
The Salt Lake Tribune - Article Last Updated: 06/20/2007 01:39:55 PM MDT

Posted: 1:27 PM - Albertsons stores are ending their "Preferred Card" program at 78 Southwest stores.

The Arizona Republic reports today that instead, the chain will offer discounted items to everyone.

"Our objective is to give all the consumers in the marketplace the same great deals irregardless of having to have a loyalty card," said Bob Colgrove, Albertsons Southwest division president.

Other supermarkets and grocers, including Safeway, Fry's and Bashas', said this week that they don't plan to follow Albertsons' lead and will keep their cards.
Reference Here>>

That's because their (Safeway, Fry's, and Bashas') cards work.

By the way, never listen to anyone who uses “IRREGARDLESS” … it (irregardless) is NOT a word. Just as a barcode is not a barcode when it can be, or becomes mushed.

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