Improvements enhance customer experience
October 25, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 25, 2012) -- Grocery shopping can be pleasant for some and stressful for others, but the commissary on Fort Rucker is looking to relieve some of that stress with improvements to patrons' shopping experience.
The Fort Rucker commissary has added a rewards card program, has plans to add cart corrals to the parking lot as well as plans to restripe the parking lot, according to Terry Ford, Fort Rucker commissary store director.
"The rewards card program is [one of the improvements] that the [Defense Commissary Agency] came up with to try and eliminate the use of paper coupons," he said. "People can actually add digital coupons to an account that you have that is linked to the card."
The cards come with a barcode and account number located on the back of the card that is specific to each card, said Ford. People can activate their card by going to commissaries.com and clicking on the customer service tab where they will find the link to the rewards card.
"When people go to the site, they can click on the rewards card link and register their card," he said. "Once their card is registered, they can look through the website and see the different coupons that have been preloaded onto the system, and all they need to do is go in and click on which coupons they would like to use in the store."
The coupons are automatically downloaded onto the account number once a person chooses what they want and when a person comes into the commissary to shop, the coupons will automatically be deducted from their purchase during checkout when they present the card.
"Right now there are over 20 coupons available with the rewards card system and more will be added over time," said Ford.
Like with paper coupons, Ford said the digital coupons will also have an expiration date, so people should stay current with their coupons and check on the site regularly for new coupons.
"As the coupons hit the expiration date, they will drop off the system and no longer be eligible for use," he said, "but as those coupons drop off the system, new ones are added, so people can keep their coupons current."
There is also an option on the website for people to print out a page of the coupons that they added to their card to help them remember, said Ford.
The cards are available at the commissary from any of the registers or at the customer service desk, and come with a pamphlet to show people specifically how to register their card. Ford said that the people at the commissary will also be more than happy to help people that might be reluctant to switch to the new rewards program.
"Some people might be hesitant to take on this new system because they don't have a computer," he said. "I'll tell customers that if they have time and they don't have a computer, they can come into the commissary and we'll help them get started.
"We will sit with them, log them into the system and help them register their account and even help select the coupons they want to put on their card," said the store director. "That means they can start shopping for those items right then in the store."
Other improvements that are coming to the commissary are the addition of cart corrals and restriping of the parking lot, according to Ford.
"We needed [the cart corrals] because the carts can cause a lot of damage to vehicles outside with the steep slope of the parking lot," he said. "In addition to that, the parking lot will be restriped and more room will be made for additional handicap parking."
The cart corrals will be added to the parking lot after it is restriped, and Ford said that a meeting was held with the Directorate of Public Works to determine a timeframe in the near future for when that would be done.
"We also have to decide exactly where these cart corrals will go, but they will most likely be in areas toward the back, midway and one less than midway toward the bottom so that people have a chance to put their carts in one of the corrals relatively close to them," he said.
These improvements are only a small step in improving the overall experience of shoppers on the installation, as a new commissary is slated to start construction in the second quarter of next year.
"The current commissary has over 31,000 square feet of floor space and the new commissary will add another 20,000 square feet," said Ford. "With the new floor space, we will be able to service a lot more people, and that's what it's really about -- we want to make sure we can keep our current audience with us."