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This article was prepared for the February 21,

2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

From E-marketing Comes E-loyalty

Datamark Technologies uses magnetic stripe and barcode

technology to implement a points and reward system for encouraging

frequent customers. It is being acquired by Impower and it will add

in-store customer loyalty programs to Impower’s E-marketing solutions.

"Together we can offer more of a total solution," says Jack

Kaplan, founder of Datamark, located at the Technology Center in North

Brunswick.

His card-based loyalty programs are used by such clients as Ruth’s

Chris Steakhouse, Modell’s Sporting Goods, J. Crew, Brooks Brothers,

Exxon, Sinclair Oil, and Electronics Boutique.

Kaplan’s "E-Gift" program replaces paper gift certificates.

He estimates that E-Gift cuts at least 30 percent of the

administrative

and accounting costs of traditional paper gift certificates. For the

retail industry, E-Gift can be combined with a merchandise return

feature.

His "Patron Plus" loyalty program captures transactions at

the point of sale and customizes reports. A customer simply enters

a store, buys a steak or a basketball or a sweater — and can sign

up with this first purchase. The amount of the first purchase is

stored

as "points" toward an award. All customer information

collected

with each purchase is sent daily to Datamark, where it is analyzed.

The award structure, set up for each business by the individual client

companies, determines when the customer receives a reward: a special

promotion, money off a purchase, or a free gift.

Next, the information is combed through to discover the best

customers,

what they are buying, and which locations they frequent. Datamark

evaluates solutions for each client. This type of information is

useful

for marketing purposes and is more personal than a system like

WalMart’s,

in which no customer information is recorded.

With a BS in industrial engineering from the University of Colorado,

Class of 1970, and an MBA from the City University of New York. Based

on his experiences in starting and managing three successful

companies,

he teaches entrepreneurship courses at Columbia Business School and

has written a book, "Getting Started in Entrepreneurship."

He worked on smart cards in 1990 at Smart Card International and

founded

his own firm in 1992. (U.S. 1, January 13, 1999). In early 1998, GE

Capital bought almost a 25 percent share of Datamark Technology and

will now be a shareholder in Impower.

The smartest thing about Datamark’s card is the way it produces

results,

Kaplan says. Datamark’s loyalty programs have increased the number

of visits that customers make to stores by as much as 30 percent and

have increased the dollars spent per purchase in excess of 20 percent.

— Barbara Fox

Datamark Technologies, 681 Route 1 South, North

Brunswick 08902. Jack Kaplan, president. 732-873-5322; fax,

732-873-2530.

Www.datamarktech.com.


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