In Star Advisor program, retailer offers $5 monthly reward to active participants of its online community.
Macy's is building an interactive online community designed to learn more about its customers including their opinions and shopping preferences. It also permits customers to interact with each other in online discussion groups.
The department store chain has invited an undetermined number of people to become a so-called Star Advisor, which takes its name from the retailer's customer loyalty program, Star Rewards.
"Star Advisors have the unique opportunity to participate in an online community with other Macy's customers and to have their thoughts, opinions and feelings heard directly by Macy’s," the company wrote in an email.
Macy's, like other retailers, is investing more resources into digital activities, shifting away from traditional channels such as newspaper advertising. Programs like Star Advisor also hold the promise of letting the retailer hear first from key customers in a closed community instead of chasing them on other social networks.
To become a so-called Star Advisor, potential candidates are asked to answer about two dozen questions, including household income, gadgets they own, and shopping preferences before they are approved to become an "advisor."
Once accepted, they must participate in flash polls, answer questions, or participate in other activities to earn their monthly incentive – either a $5 Amazon or Macy's gift card. Participants are also instructed that information shared in the Star Advisor forums is confidential.
For the initiative, Macy's is working with market research firm Gongos of Auburn Hills, MI.
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Anna Maria Virzi, ClickZ's executive editor from 2007 until 2012, covered Internet business and technology since 1996. She was on the launch team for Ziff Davis Media's Baseline and also worked at Forbes.com, Web Week, Internet World, and the Connecticut Post.
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