RealTime IT News

Patent Issued for Online Consumer Promotions

Catalina Marketing Corp. said that its online operation, SuperMarkets Online Inc., has been issued a U.S. patent for a system and method for providing shopping aids and incentives to consumers through a computer network.

"We have a very unique method of providing consumers with incentive offers and shopping aids such as coupons, rebates, samples and recipes," said Mike Scroggie, co-founder of SuperMarkets Online and initiator of the patent.

"ValuPage and its associated products, ValuPagE-mail, ValuPage Sample, ValuBanner and ValuPlanner provide the most secure and effortless online promotional programs for the consumer packaged goods industry."

The ValuPage service uses a bar code that, when printed out and presented along with promoted items at the checkout counter of more than 11,000 participating stores, issues Web Bucks to the customer.

Web Bucks are cash rewards that may be used for nearly any purchase during the customer's next visit to the store.

ValuPage has several opt-in options including e-mail addresses and the use of frequent shopper card numbers for maximum targeting, the company said.

ValuPageE-mail, which recently reached its 2 million subscriber mark, features a targeted weekly e-mail based on purchase behavior data that delivers the coupons and other consumer packaged goods promotions found on ValuPage directly to consumers' e-mail in-boxes.

ValuBanner provides manufacturers with advertising banners, posted on allied Internet sites, that are tied to the coupons and promotions delivered by the ValuPage service.

ValuPage Sample supports the targeted delivery of sample offers to consumers, Catalina Marketing provides strategic targeted marketing solutions for consumer goods companies and retailers using in-store incentives, loyalty programs, sampling and advertising messages; and at home, through direct mailings and online.