Nov 7, 2005

Tops supermarkets, Bangkok

Tops supermarkets are running a joint promotion with Visa to encourage customers to pay with their Visa Electron card. Customers receive a coupon worth 20 baht for every 500 baht spent. That's approximately US$0.50 for every US$12.00 spent.

This promotion shows that merchants like coupons, and customers often do too. Coupons work. It also shows that merchants can give high cash back discounts (here it is 4%) even in low margin sectors like grocery, as long as the coupons can only be redeemed at Tops, and as long as Visa is participating in some way or another, either directly with cash subsidies, or through joint advertising, or a combination.

In preparing my trip to Bangkok, this was one of the promotions I wanted to research on the ground. I'm glad I did. The idea is excellent, but it turns out to be pretty inconvenient since customers have to take their checkout receipt to a service counter in the store to get their 20 baht coupon. So they go through the checkout, then go back in the store. This presents a great opportunity for banks to make the process easier and more convenient, by printing the 20 baht coupon at the bottom of the customer's bankcard receipt, directly through the POS terminal at the checkout.

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