A few weeks ago, I was in a CVS, buying a few items that included a case of water, a newspaper and a candy bar for one of my kids. As I was leaving, the cashier handed me my receipt, which literally took 15 seconds to print out — no exaggeration. As I was walking out, I chuckled a little bit while reviewing the 42-inch receipt. I bought three items and the receipt was more than 3½-feet long.

OK, let’s get past that and go to what was on the receipt. Besides my items, there was an opportunity for a $1,000 sweepstakes and coupons for:

?  Get a flu shot today and receive 20 percent off.

?  $4 off when you spend $20 on vitamins.

?  $6 off a beauty purchase of more than $15.

?  $1.50 off any shampoo or conditioner.

?  $2 off any Nature Bounty Vitamin.

?  $1 off Excedrin — for life’s headaches.

Very few of these coupons are personalized to me — meaning based on prior purchases. Why is this? Since I used my ExtraCare card, CVS knows a ton about me, my habits, what I buy, when I buy it and the regularity of those purchases. Of these six offers, I bought only vitamins a week prior to this purchase. Clearly, there was no chance for me to buy them again. I forgot to mention that all of these coupons expired less than a week after my visit.

Use resources wisely

I must admit: I don’t get it. I feel that CVS has wasted resources, information, paper, my time and — most importantly, from the company’s standpoint — an opportunity to persuade me to shop more in its store and increase its revenue.

The way I look at it, I am in the company’s store, I am a customer, I am buying products, and then I am leaving the store. Furthermore, I assume CVS wants me to return, it wants more of my business, and it wants me to spend money in its store.

Since we know all of that is true, CVS should find a way to personalize all the offers to my needs. It should understand that I have seasonal purchases and understand how often I buy water, soda and candy bars. Customize the receipt to the customer. If you can’t customize all of the offers, then customize a few of them.

If the six coupons were about the products that I shop for there, such as soda, newspaper, candy for my kids, dish soap, detergent and paper towels, then the coupons would have had a positive effect on my purchase intent.

Problem is pervasive

Even though I mentioned CVS, the same is true for many other retailers. When looking over recent receipts from Walgreens, Panda Express, Tom Thumb and Golfsmith, they are all missing opportunities to effectively communicate with customers. In the age of big data, why aren’t companies using this more to their advantage?

To me, the winning retailers in 2013 will be the ones that understand and can implement personalization in dealing with their customer base. As a customer of a lot of retailers, I truly hope this happens sooner than later. ?

Merrill Dubrow is president and CEO, M/A/R/C Research, located in Dallas, one of the top 25 market research companies in the U.S. Merrill is a speaker and has been writing a blog for more than six years. He can be reached at merrill.dubrow@marcresearch.com or at (972) 983-0416.

Published in Dallas