Six months after Stride Rite launched its first loyalty program last fall for moms and others who purchase its footwear for children, membership had already topped 1 million. Add to that, now 75% of ITS specialty store and online transactions are associated with a rewards member.
Kiran Smith, vice president of marketing for Stride Rite Children’s Group, tells us how they did it.
CHIEF MARKETER: Let’s start from the beginning. What prompted you to launch the loyalty program last November?
SMITH: Our initial inspiration came from the consumer; she provided consistent feedback through surveys, customer service and in-store that she’d like to be rewarded for providing her children with premium quality footwear. After evaluating the feedback, we were able to develop a program that both met her needs and allows us to improve profitable sales.
CM: How did, and do you, market the loyalty program?
SMITH: Due to our business model, which services moms with kids zero- to eight-years-old, we have a very high rate of customer acquisition. Our most important marketing was via the store associates who have been key to the initial success of the program and are very excited to see moms come back and shop again with their Stride Rite Rewards coupon. We’ve also relied on digital marketing to create awareness and acquire new customers into the program.
CM: What do you attribute to gaining that many members in such a short amount of time?
SMITH: Three things: one, our store associates have done an excellent job communicating the benefits and enrolling customers. Two, the program is straight forward and easy to understand and three, the program is fully integrated and channel agnostic. Rewards are the same in specialty stores, outlets and online. (How Walgreens Got 28 Million Loyalty Members in Two Months.)
CM: Can you tie the loyalty program to an increase in annual revenue? If so, how?
SMITH: Yes, early indicators show that we’re increasing purchase frequency of the same customers compared to a year ago. We are excited to see repeat purchasers and more Stride Rite families.
CM: How do you stay in touch with members and what types of communications do you send them?
SMITH: We have a variety of recurring programs that deliver their rewards and remind them to get fit measured. In addition, we develop member exclusive promotions such as Friends & Family and offer exclusive movie ticket gift-with-purchases around major movie launches.
CM: What types of updates or changes have you made to the program since it launched?
SMITH: We have not changed the fundamentals of the program, but we are constantly evaluating ways to provide the best benefits to mom.
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CM: How do you go about doing that?
SMITH: A good example is the welcome kit, initially designed to be mailed to customers. The second phase of the kit was created to be handed out in store to customers that sign up at a Stride Rite corporate location or mailed to customers that enroll on striderite.com. We believe the instant gratification of the welcome kit being handed out in-stores is more appropriate for the Millennial consumer. (Check out the 2013 Loyalty Program Management Checklist.)
CM: How do mobile and social fit in to the rewards program?
SMITH: Stride Rite Rewards will be accessible on mobile in 2014. The program is fully integrated and has single sign-on with striderite.com. We are acquiring new consumers to our brand by promoting free shipping on purchases over $35 for rewards members. On social we do general program promotion.