News

PCS wins international ‘green’ card brief

Rob Nicholls Plastic Card Services

Now more than ever, there is a strong appetite among consumers for green products and services. One retailer who was determined to help their customers to do their bit to save the planet was Denmark’s leading retailer, Coop Danmark.

With the help of Plastic Card Services, Coop Danmark has launched one of Europe’s first plastic loyalty card schemes – manufactured with both green materials and processes – which will not only help consumers save money, but also help in the preservation of the environment.

Background

Coop Danmark is Denmark’s leading food retailer with around 1,200 stores and 35,000 employees. Owned by 1.6 million members of the Danish Consumers’ Cooperative Society, the retailer operates under the world renowned ‘cooperative’ brand and ethical code.

As part of Coop’s service they operate several schemes to improve customer retention and experience. The scheme known as the Coop Plus uses a plastic card and 3-up key tags that the customer presents at point of sale to help record the customer’s loyalty transactions.

The Coop DanmarkPlus Loyalty scheme is the biggest in Denmark, reflecting the retailer’s market dominance – it accounted for 38% of total sales in the country in 2008.

Brief

Coop Danmark wanted to introduce a more eco-friendly loyalty card in response to greater consumer interest in green products. The retailer wanted to consider alternative methods and materials to conventional card manufacturing that had a lesser impact on the environment. Overall, the card needed to suit Coop Danmark’s responsible business practices.

Aside from the environmental stipulations, the card needed to perform as a traditional card and be commercially viable.

Coop Danmark also required the print supplier to take responsibility for the personalisation, fulfillment, mailing and distribution of the cards and accompanying stationery.

Solution

PCS was awarded the contract to manufacture, personalise, fulfil and distribute the cards and fobs to Denmark with a view that the scheme will be extended throughout Scandinavia.

The £750,000 contract was awarded on the basis of relevant expertise in bio polymer manufacturing techniques and proven success in supporting large national card schemes.

The contract utilised biodegradable polymers and new waterless print technology – the first in the UK to do so.

PCS used bioPVC material which is designed to decompose in less than three years, a considerable improvement on the conventional 300-1000 year cycle for PVC. The material conforms to the International Biodegradable Standard ISO 14855 and decomposes in water, soil, compost or standard landfill material, leaving no toxic effect on the environment.

The card was manufactured using a waterless print process that significantly reduces emissions or harmful compounds into the atmosphere and is considered by the industry as market-leading in efficiency, waste management and quality.

PCS also developed a new software solution to interpret the data files received and split the data according to a number of logical tests to suit daily fulfilment. The software also manages the stock reporting, ensuring that the stock is monitored and controlled correctly.

To improve the speed of fulfilment and reduce the number of stationery items required, PCS worked with Coop to convert proposed packs using a variety of stationery types to a new pack format using a single common extended A4 design. A template was developed to identify each section of the letter which aided the setup and conversion of numerous letters.

A dedicated fulfilment team were used to ensure that the various packs and matrices were understood quickly thus reducing the production learning curve generally associated with this scale of project.
Results

Migration, development and fulfilment were successfully completed within 12 weeks.

Since the start of the project PCS have produced and distributed 2 million Coop DanmarkPlus Loyalty cards and key tags across Europe.

In addition to this, 50,000 cards were produced for the Greenland market making it the first ever biodegradable scheme in the rapidly-changing Danish sovereign state.

PCS’s investment into the first installation in the UK of the Atlantic Zieser DOD using white ink meant the continuous issue of high quality personalised cards could be maintained throughout the duration of the contract.

The decision to buy ‘bio’ only cost Coop Danmark a small percentage more than the standard PVC equivalent.

PCS and Coop are continuing to work together to look at ways of streamlining and enhancing the mailing packs as well as offering a flexible approach to new Coop marketing activities.