How Country Road is driving instore sales with digital loyalty innovation

The leading Aussie fashion retailer implemented mobile customer loyalty program offerings to provide a connected retail strategy

The rise of global fashion retailers in the Australian marketplace is placing increasing pressure on local brands to find more innovative ways to boost loyalty and drive engagement. What's what Country Road set out to achieve when it overhauled its customer loyalty approach by tapping new mobile technology.

Country Road channels manager, Paul Conti, said the Australian retailer was looking to enhance relationships with customers, particularly with existing loyalty members to drive incremental store visits and sales, while allowing customers to engage with the brand in their preferred medium.

“We wanted to find a way to better connect with our membership base, who are our most important customers by far,” Conti said. “About 70-80 per cent of our revenue comes from this group of people in our membership base.

“Historically, our interaction with them has been via email, but with the changes in our digital landscape, we wanted to find how we could connect with our cardholders to ensure we can engage with them in the channels they are choosing and not rely just on once single channel to connect and interact.”

In order to achieve this, Country Road collaborated with mobile loyalty app provider, Stocard, to develop a digital loyalty marketing campaign over a four-month period.

Founded in Germany, Stocard currently has 16 million global users with 1.7 million Australian shoppers utilising the app, with fashion retailers forming a large part of the audience, which further attracted Country Road to its offerings.

“In fact, Stocard had about 70,000 Country Road cardholders who had organically taken the app already,” Conti said. “It was almost a ready-made opportunity for us to leverage and start testing, with the view to grow over time.

“All we had to do was workshop our campaign strategy with them, then handover our creative and all the technology was handled on the other end.”

The campaign connected customers using the Stocard app with tailored offers from Country Road, including geo-push notifications when they travelled within radius of a Country Road retail store. Conti said the campaign highlighted the importance of a connected retail strategy, using effective digital platforms like mobile wallets to drive repeat customers and improve sales in both online and bricks and mortar stores.

“The rise of mobile is not slowing down and to date, 63 per cent of all traffic to our site comes from mobile devices,” he added. “We’ve already had success with other mobile-led platforms like Facebook and our Google mobile search. So with Stocard, it offers yet another channel through which we could offer a personalised experience and offer different messages at different times, with different objectives.”

Outcome: Incremental sales lift

To measure sales lift from adding Stocard to Country Road’s wider marketing mix, an A/B test was conducted throughout the campaign using control groups. One group received offers in Stocard and the other doesn't, negating other marketing effects.

Over the four-month campaign, Country Road ran eight campaigns and saw a significant lift in incremental sales of more than 21 per cent among exposed customers. For every dollar spent on the campaign, Country Road generated an additional 8.95x incremental return – close to $9 of incremental value.

“So far, we’ve found all our mobile engagement channels have been very effective at driving in-store transactions, sales and traffic than online channels,” he said. “I think there’s an assumption that digital marketing strategies drive digital results, but a few times now we’ve proved that isn’t the case – it’s driving instore sales.”

By combining offer personalisation capabilities and location awareness at scale, Country Road was also able to communicate more effectively with its customers. As a result, the retailer is looking at Stocard as a key mobile channel for 2018 and beyond.

“We’re also very focused on that full marketing attribution solution, so we look at how all the various customer touchpoints impact our instore and digital sales,” Conti said. “The goal we are working towards is looking at all our data both offline and online and how our spend across all our marketing channels is impacting our bottom line.”

Conti said Country Road promotes an internal culture of innovation and regularly explores new technologies to engage with its customer community. Meanwhile the role of mobile remains a key focus as customer shopping behaviours evolve.

“Our customers’ increasing preference for mobile devices has greatly informed our strategy,” he said. “ By bridging the gap between our online and offline touch-points, we’ve found that mobile channels are extremely effective at driving traffic and sales growth in our bricks and mortar stores – particularly when combined with location-based personalisation capabilities like Stocard’s.”

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