For retailers, the holiday season offers an end-of-the-year boost driven by a surge of gift shoppers. For one retailer in particular, many of its holiday shoppers typically only visit the store during that particular timeframe, and don’t necessarily become loyal customers.
Kirkland’s, a specialty retailer of home décor, operates nearly 300 stores in 30 states. The retailer’s merchandise includes framed art, mirrors, candles, lamps, accent rugs and garden accessories, as well as seasonal and holiday assortments. In an effort to establish itself as a gift-giving destination, Kirkland’s tapped Nashville, TN-based integrated marketing agency redpepper to develop a multi-channel promotion to “capture” the seasonal, holiday-only shopper, leverage the company’s online community and create in-store engagement.
The “Glee Spree” sweepstakes campaign — what Kirkland’s VP of Marketing Mark Krebs called one of the retailer’s “most successful promotions ever” — targeted the company’s customer who views gift giving as an extreme sport. Kicked off in late October 2010, the campaign employed “Merry the Gift Fairy,” a character who embodied the spirit of Kirkland’s generous, core customer, to surprise seven customers in-store with a $1000 shopping spree to help with their holiday shopping.
The “magic moments” were filmed and posted on the Kirkland’s web site as part of its MyKirkland’s social community. “The whole goal was to build on the affection Kirkland’s shoppers have for each other,” Krebs noted. “Some of the most powerful social networkers are in the 35 to 55 demographic, and they are often overshadowed by the 18- to 24-year-old that we all think of who’s walking around constantly texting.”
The campaign was ultimately viewed as a success by Kirkland’s because it enabled the company to set metrics aligned with specific business outcomes, track sources and outcomes from and through identified channels, identify and target key influencers, and track behavior and customer trends.
Programs including daily gifts, surprise gift list takeovers and shopping spree giveaways helped Kirkland’s engage its core customers in “gifting”-related activity and enabled them to share their experiences with other like-minded shoppers. This, Krebs said, helped effectively transform the Kirkland’s core customers into an active media channel focused on positioning Kirkland’s as a gift retailer and recommending it as an ideal place for holiday shopping. From a quantitative standpoint, the campaign helped Kirkland’s extend its multi-channel reach by leaps and bounds. Key metrics include:
- Nearly 350,000 net new emails across all Glee Spree tactics;
- Nearly 315,000 new emails from in-store sweeps sign-ups;
- More than 85,000 repeat entries to the in-store sweepstakes;
- Nearly 250,000 daily gift giveaway entries;
- More than 60,000 Facebook shares;
- Nearly 6,000 Facebook “Likes;”
- More than 30,000 views of Merry Making videos; and
- A 54% increase in visits to MyKirklands.com during the campaign.
Sweepstakes Help Create Customer Email Database
Since the holiday season is the retailer’s busiest traffic period, Kirkland’s also held an in-store sweepstakes to capture the email addresses of once-a-year-customers with a Daily Gift Giveaway. “We believe there are a great deal of customers who just come in one time a year to purchase gifts,” Krebs said. “The thought was, while they’re in the store, to capture them from an email standpoint. That’s a primary marketing tool we have. We don’t do any direct mail, we do some PR work around new store openings, but the main way we communicate with customers is via email.”
Taking a cross-channel approach to engagement, Kirkland’s also worked with redpepper to build a selling guide that included 20 to 30 items for its “red apron” in-store employees to highlight with customers. The guide was designed to ensure that store associates were not simply taking emails from customers, but capitalizing on the opportunity to upsell popular gift items in the impact area at the front of the store.
“When you move into the fourth quarter, you’ve got a lot of part-time employees that just come to work for that time period,” Krebs said. “This was a great tool to educate them not only on the merchandise, but also on how to sell.”
redpepper tracked and measured the popularity of the gifts offered in the Daily Gift Giveaway, providing Kirkland's with valuable insight into the product preferences of customers. The retailer implemented an “incent the share” strategy with a call-to-action for customers to share the contest on Facebook to double their chances of winning, which saw a 25% response rate, according to Krebs.