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Kellogg on rewarding new ground by tying receipt scanning to points

Kellogg has updated its rewards program with a mobile-first approach, claiming to be the first consumer packaged goods company to use a combination of retailer frequent shopper integration and receipt scanning for point collection. 

By allowing members of its United States Family Rewards program to collect points by scanning receipts while eliminating the need to enter package codes, the maker of Frosted Flakes and Raisin Bran cereals and other products will make it easier to automatically collect points for purchase, minimizing a challenge in rewards programs. The change points to how mobile remains a critical channel in the expansion of the Kellogg?s Family Rewards program, launched in 2012.

?Despite their popularity, one of the challenges people have with rewards programs is to collect and enter points tied to purchases,? said Dan Keller, vice president of consumer loyalty with Kellogg, Battle Creek, MI. ?That?s why we?re improving Kellogg?s Family Rewards with new technology that automatically adds earned points to members? Kellogg?s Family Rewards accounts by uploading images of receipts with their mobile device or by linking with participating retailer frequent shopper cards.?

Charity donations
The U.S. Kellogg brands added to the Family Rewards program include Pringles, Murray and Murray Sugar Free cookies, Kellogg's Origins cereal, Keebler Ready Crusts pie crusts, and Cheez-It Crunch'D. 

Members can also donate points to U.S. K-12 schools or a variety of hunger-relief charities.

Notifying rewards club members of the changes.

Kellogg said it is the first consumer packaged goods company to use a combination of retailer frequent shopper integration and receipt scanning to collect points for purchase. 

With these technology enhancements, points for Kellogg foods purchased at U.S. retailers with participating frequent shopper programs will automatically be added to members' Kellogg's Family Rewards accounts, when shoppers link their retailer membership number to the program. 

First, the member links his or her card to the program. After that, he can add points for Kellogg foods purchased at U.S. retailers with participating frequent shopper programs to the account.

For purchases at retail locations without participating frequent shopper programs or for members who do not link their loyalty cards, members can simply take a photo of their receipts with their mobile phones and upload or text them to the Kellogg?s Family Rewards site to collect their points. 

Members can also use a digital camera or scanner, and upload receipts on their computers, if they prefer.

An AC Nielsen research study showing that more than 60 percent of U.S. households say loyalty programs are important in their shopping decisions, Kellogg said. However, despite their popularity, one of the challenges people have with these programs is collecting and entering points tied to purchases.

The Kellogg's Family Rewards program Web site has more traffic than all other Kellogg U.S. Web sites combined, Larry Bruck, Kellogg?s vice president of global marketing, said in a release. 

The company is confident the new technology will encourage even more people to participate in the program since it is even easier to collect points to earn rewards, he said.

While members no longer need to enter codes found inside packages to capture points, Kellogg's Family Rewards will continue to provide the same benefits. The list includes same points per product purchased; same catalog/rewards and values; no change in daily/weekly point limits; and current points remain in participants' accounts.

The new technology will also support national and retailer-specific promotions.

Rewards programs have become an important part of the U.S. retail landscape, driving consumer engagement with the companies whose products they purchase. 

For a CPG brand such as Kellogg, mobile is a natural way for the brand to speed up loyalty-building efforts since mobile streamlines the entire redemption process and can therefore propel more consumers to participate.

As smartphone adoption and time spent online across all mobile touch points increase, the natural correlation for a loyalty program and any in-store promotion for a CPG brand like Kellogg?s is to offer the consumer accessibility and instant gratification on mobile.

In the pre-digital age, CPG marketers could afford to direct resources toward customer acquisition at the expense of customer retention.

A surge in mobile channels today has given CPG marketers the power to leverage data, recognition and rewards to build customer relationships. That is crucial at a time of in-store showrooming and social media recommendations from friends on mobile.

Return on investment
By creating emotional bonds, marketers can generate better return on investment.
Welcoming new brands.

?This move is the correct one ? it is in alignment with the way consumers are behaving as they spend more time on mobile devices,? said Lynda Liu, marketing director for Netmining. ?We agree that Kellogg will most likely see a dramatic increase in its reward program participation. 

?In Q4 2013, we know that the average US smartphone user was already spending over 30 hours a month within apps,? she said. ?If that is any indication, a mobile rewards program for Kellogg will be easily received by consumers and will better fit into their general mobile habits.

?From the data perspective, this will unlock a treasure trove of first-party data for Kellogg,? she said?They can pull in not only each participant?s data, but make the connected points between family members to understand the purchasing behavior of the overall household decision makers ? then layer that on top of time, seasonality to build out a better understanding of each consumer?s relationship per product line.?

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York