Price Attack’s customer transformation to build growth and loyalty

Australian family-owned retailer undergoes brand strategy overhaul and brings on new partner to help tackle customer data and lifecycle engagement


Price Attack has overhauled its brand strategy, re-evaluated its partner network and instituted a data-led customer lifetime value and retention transformation program in order to jump-start company growth.

Price Attack general manager of marketing, Jamie McDougall, told CMO the remit upon being appointed 18 months ago to the family-owned retailer was to reignite the brand and find a way to drive customer growth while also addressing the omni-channel retailing needs of modern customers.

Price Attack has been operating for more than 30 years and has 65 stores nationally, run under a franchise model.

“In its heyday in the 1980s and 1990s, Price Attack was the destination for haircare products. But it had become stale, competitors had come into the market, caught up and overtaken us,” McDougall said.

Updating the brand look and marketing became priority number one. “At the same time, in a competitive retail market, with both physical bricks and mortar and digital, we needed to evolve the ecommerce offering,” McDougall said.

Being a family-run business, McDougall admitted initial concerns about securing buy-in for the volume of investment required. “The owners knew they needed to, they just didn’t have the know-how on how to go about it,” he said.  

What’s more, the group’s sub-brand barber retail business, Tommy Gun’s, had shown what a young, enthusiastic, experience-led retail offering could deliver, he said.  

With six months on the clock to execute, the brand relaunch went live in September 2018. Work included a full brand study of who Price Attack’s customers were, how to talk to them, and what to engage on. McDougall said there were largely no surprises, more validations of what the team thought about its customers and how to go about building loyalty. A strong affinity for the brand in regional areas was also noted.

The resulting brand campaign launched with Roxette’s ‘Get the look’ and was designed as a platform to make noise in the market. It features different women performing everyday life tasks.

“We needed an anthem that was recognisable, and that we could leverage the power of,” McDougall said. The campaign mix included a TV campaign through to Christmas, as well as radio, catalogues and online advertising. This was supported by a fresh physical brand identity.

In September, Price Attack recruited digital marketing manager, Jess Leth, to kick off the next tranche of work evolving online.

“Our first milestone was ecommerce, and getting the website reflective of our new branding, plus the store and customer experience,” Leth said. “We needed to better reflect the products, ranging and from a copy perspective, utilising our brand tone of voice, and getting the conversation started with customers online.”

This also included looking at digital marketing and closing the loop utilising ecommerce to drive successful omnichannel retailing.

“For us, this wasn’t just about ecommerce driving people to convert as shoppers online, but to drive footfall into our physical stores as well,” Leth said. “We utilise the space not just to do conversions online, but to be that source of information to customers so they’re comfortable going into stores with enough education on the products they’ll find there.”  

During this time, Price Attack changed its Web development agency to align more with fresh brand goals. This was part of a full evaluation of partners and legacy suppliers on the books. The result was turning over all suppliers in the last 18 months.

“We wanted partners to work with us holistically, and to remove all siloed approaches to all marketing, so we were speaking the same language and working as a team,” Leth said.  

Customer experience effort

It was also during this evaluation Price Attack started discussions with customer lifecycle management agency, Customology. Like most retailers, Price Attack had various data sets that weren’t easily accessible, loyalty wasn’t a global system, and the physical and online businesses were disconnected.

“We brought Customology on-board to build that customer journey and understand all the data we had sitting across all the different departments to create that single viewpoint of customers,” Leth said. “This will help us effectively understand who our customers were, when we’re talking to them, where they are in the purchase journey. That’s where it’s evolving to.

“It’s about taking the next steps to start talking to our customers and creating a better experience for them.”  

The brief for Customology is to leverage customer data and insights, identify customer growth opportunities, influence the right customer behaviours to active the path to repurchase, and enhancing the customer experience to create more loyalty customers. This is couched in developing a single customer view online and offline.  Long-term, there are also plans to revamp the customer loyalty program.

Work with Customology is a 3-4 stage process. Stage one commenced in July and involved looking at all the data, combining it, cleaning it, and looking at who is who.

“We’re just going into stage two, which is about actioning insights off the back of that,” McDougall said.  

The emphasis is on retention marketing and growing customer engagement. “From the initial discovery, we understood we were doing a good job of prospect marketing. What we want to do with Customology is keep these customers coming back through the doors,” Leth said.

“We’ll start with steps of on-boarding, retention and keeping lifecycle communication pieces going, understanding what the customer’s next purchase is, and when they next come into a salon. It’s keeping communications relevant in conjunction with our national campaigns.”

It’s not about the brand of shampoo matching the conditioner, but understanding if that person has curly or thin hair to make sure marketing is covering the right products, Leth continued.

“That’s a huge part of our segmentation, which we are do through our marketing already, but understanding purchase decisions and behaviours help us to deliver a more personalised approach to deliver more of what they need, versus marketing stuff to them they may not need,” she said.  

“Customology will help us use that data to improve our email marketing, social media and any programmatic advertising. We can use these learnings to build on each touchpoint.”

Results

Results include growth in the last 12 months in ecommerce sales, with relatively organic uplift in orders of 52 per cent year-on-year. In addition, sales have surpassed last year’s sales figures with the weeks left before the busy Christmas period still to go. The return rate of customers is also increasing, with an uplift of 75 per cent.

“We’re seeing the same people start coming back to us. With that return customer rate comes higher average customer sales and conversion - it’s not necessarily increased foot traffic. That’s exciting. It means customers want to more shop with us," Leth said. 

“That’s important as it’s about using ecommerce as an information website and drive footfall into store. Our store locator is one of most popular pages still, and we’re not just tracking ecommerce sales, it’s online and offline sales together.”

McDougall said in selling work back into the franchise network, it was vital to position this as of benefit for the customer as well as physical store franchises.

“It’s about getting return customers back to them. Churn rates are part of any business, and we’ve identified what that is for us,” McDougall said. “We have no problems bringing into top of the funnel, it’s more about keeping them.”

Over the next 3-6 months, Price Attack will revamp email communications from welcome to thank you emails, on-boarding and the service experience. From there, it’s about the next logical path to purchase and keeping customers engaged.

“That test-and-learn activity, understanding more so what customers are looking for – is it sales, content or surprise and delight – is  important,” Leth said. “It’s the perfect opportunity to understand data to validate and know what customers are after.

McDougall is looking forward to evolving customer cycles. “If we can work out a shampoo lasts on average six weeks for example, we can start talking to them 4-5 weeks in the cycle,” he added.  

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