CVS: Don’t Tease Me Like That

By | October 22, 2013

This morning, my heartbeat skipped a little when I read the headline: “CVS Unveils Personalized Circulars.”

Anything I read that reflects growth in print personalization is exciting to me, but especially outside direct mail, transpromotional, and marketing collateral. Could it be that CVS is going to start mailing coupon books the way my grocery store does, except personalized to my shopping habits gleaned from my loyalty card?

What would it look like? Stapled with the three perforated coupons per page? I get one from the grocery store, and I love it. Even though it’s not personalized, I use it too. What would it be like to get one that is user-friendly and personalized? I couldn’t wait.

But alas, CVS was to disappoint me. When they said “circular,” what they meant was circulated via email and mobile. I don’t love that.

I belong to the company’s loyalty program, but it hasn’t provided me with any benefits so far. I either get coupons on the bottom of my receipts that expire too quickly for them to be of any use or I get rewards by email that send me onto a wild goose chase and require me to input information I don’t want to input to download an email-back coupon. If I’m a rewards member, why can’t they just send me the coupon outright?

You know what I want? I want hard copy coupons from CVS the way I get them from the grocery store. But personalized. Not like the email offers. No, no tricks. No gimmicks. No online switcheroos. Just value in perforated form in my mailbox.

The value of coupons is well documented. The value of personalization is, too. When are retailers going to begin to combine them on a regular basis?


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4 thoughts on “CVS: Don’t Tease Me Like That

  1. Patrick Whelan

    Love this! Thanks Heidi. And I happen to know someone who works in marketing for CVS so I will be passing this along.

  2. James Evans

    Agreed! I’m a gEEky engineer, but when it comes to certain items, physical presence makes sense, and coupons are one of those items! I also can’t stand to read a magazine on a tablet/phone, so to my wife’s dismay I receive piles of magazines at home….

  3. Nancy Arnold

    Amen! I love my individualized grocery coupons. I do NOT like all those silly e-mails from CVS, nor do I like the coupons on my receipt that expire in one or two days. If I had wanted to buy products offered on those coupons, I would have bought them on this trip! Marketers should keep it simple; don’t overthink!

  4. Heidi Tolliver-Walker Post author

    For CVS, I think there are somewhat incompatible goals — give people rewards for loyalty and drive sales at the store in the short term. But as a customer, I don’t want to be forced back into the store to continue to “rewards.” Forcing me back in to purchase something I don’t really need at that time in order to get $.50 off isn’t a reward at all.

    A true reward is $5.00 off your next purchase of $25.00 or more — expires 30 or 60 days out. Or $1.00 off your next purchase of something I buy there frequently anyway. Otherwise, it’s just a sales push.

    I wonder if CVS has ever done any kind of testing on its loyalty offers to see whether it’s “force your hand” approach is really the most effective or whether a more grocery-store-like approach would actually reap them more loyalty in the long run?

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