Volume 95, Issue 11
Wednesday, September 19, 2001
USC loyalty causes confusion
'No one seemed to understand it
By Jessica Leeder
While some students may have been confused at first by the University Students' Council's incentive cards, USC retailers are hoping they'll soon start swiping.
According to one student who was responsible for distributing the cards during Orientation week, many of his peers were confused by the new program.
"No one really seemed too excited about receiving the cards," said Mike Koval, a second-year bio-psychology student. "No one really seemed to understand what it was about they just took the cards."
Although the design of the program and its net benefits to students are beginning to spread, the program may been prematurely ignored by students who did not understand why they were asked for their student number in exchange for two pieces of plastic stamped with the USC logo, said Mark Wellington, manager of USC sales and marketing.
"It was unbelievably difficult to launch this at the beginning of the year because it is just such a busy time, but what better time is there to distribute cards to 27,000 people?," he said.
Wellington said proof that students are catching on and using the program is evident in the amount of card swiping already being done.
"Lots of students still aren't aware of what the cards are for, but, as things settle down, more sales people will have time to explain the program to their patrons. Lots of students have already started swiping their rewards cards," he said.
Rob Irvine, USC VP-finance, said the council does not get any direct revenue or incentive for instituting the program on campus. However, by giving students a reason to shop at a USC retail outlet, the program should increase traffic and hopefully sales in USC stores.
The cards cannot be used to purchase or redeem points on alcohol or prescription drugs, but Wellington said he hopes students will soon be able to use the cards off-campus for anything from car repairs to clothing.
Susan Grinrod, senior director of housing and ancillary services, said she does not feel the university has missed out on any opportunities by not entering into a partnership with the USC on the loyalty program.
"Many of the cards for programs like these don't end up getting used all that frequently. This appears to be a good incentive for the USC to get involved in, we wish them the best of luck and we'll react if we have to. Right now, we're happy with our own ways of promoting our services," she said.
Copyright © The Gazette 2001