Loyalty programs are still the linchpins of many retail businesses. Whether merchants sell apparel, jewelry, coffee or frozen yogurt, their top priority is to acquire and retain customers, leading to ongoing revenue for their businesses.
Frozen yogurt chain Red Mango has considered its loyalty program to be part of the brand DNA from its inception in 2006. With help from Paytronix, a loyalty program solution provider, the merchant has refined the program over time, extending it across channels and tailoring offers and messages based on the purchase frequency, flavor preferences and past engagement with the brand.
Consumers who are part of the loyalty program “spend more and visit our stores more frequently,” said Dan Kim, Founder of Red Mango, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. They also “want messaging from the company and their engagement with us is very high.”
While many retailers have loyalty and marketing programs that operate on disparate touch points, Red Mango’s loyalty program is integrated across all channels, including the web, store, email and even mobile. This method helps the merchant ensure “everyone on our list is a loyalty program member and is a valuable customer,” Kim said. “We don’t want someone to sign up because they were forced into it or they wanted to get something for free.”
Adding Value Through Mobile
Once Red Mango determines that a consumer wants to initiate that one-to-one relationship, the merchant offers a variety of features, services and benefits in stores, online and even via mobile.
“We’re improving [the program] as Paytronix adds more features and functionality,” Kim noted. Improvements made to the Paytronix platform will dictate how Red Mango brings its loyalty program “beyond the in-store swipe.”
For example, program members can access their loyalty club account using the mobile app, find nearby locations and see what yogurt flavors they have on tap. Although the app helps “strengthen relationships” with consumers, Red Mango plans to improve the brand experience even further by incorporating more enriching features, including in-store mobile ordering, as well as real-time social sharing and feedback.
“We do Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, but we want to create a one-to-one dialogue with customers and enable them to communicate with us while using the app,” Kim explained. As consumers demand faster response times to questions and inquiries, Kim noted that “mobile is a great way” to maintain that dialogue.
Red Mango also is working on implementing location-based coupons, which will be delivered through the mobile app when consumers are near a location. This functionality will help create a more relevant experience, which is expected to cause a boost in loyalty program subscriptions.
“We expect enrollment into the program to increase because consumers find value in the application,” Kim said. He noted that Red Mango saw an uptick in membership sign-ups when the mobile app was first released. “When we initially released our app, the total registering database grew by 30% or 40% over the first three months. Now, I would say more than half of loyalty program members have the app installed.”
A variety of new features and elements are being tested, but Kim noted that one principle will remain the same: “To us, loyalty isn’t just an add-on to a marketing tactic. It’s the foundation of a lot of outbound marketing that we do [as a company].”
The Data Connection
Through the Paytronix platform, Red Mango has access to detailed data, which gives the merchant ammunition to help differentiate its loyalty program.
In the early stages of the program, Red Mango found information regarding customer visits across stores and the flavors they were buying to be most valuable. However, as loyalty initiatives mature, the merchant is focusing on gathering information on individual customers.
“If we send out a coupon or communication to a specific email address, we want to understand what’s happening with that customer before and after the communication, what their behavior was, what they’re buying,” Kim said. “Right now, we’re really keen on gathering information on that individual customer, so we know who that person is.”
Paytronix also has improved Red Mango’s segmentation efforts, so customer communication and connections are more valuable.
In real time, Red Mango can track what consumers are buying and how they’re behaving, Kim noted, “which is our ultimate goal. We can give them what they truly want and not just spam them with messages that may not be relevant to them.”