Case Study: Salon Increases Average Purchase Price With Card-Linked Offers

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BellaSanteMerchant: Bella Sante Spa
Market: Boston, Lexington, and Wellesley, Mass.
Platforms: OfferLink by Cartera, Demandforce
Outcome: Increased the average customer purchase price.
Bottom Line: Card-linked platforms reduce the hassles typically associated with managing a digital loyalty program.

Everyone wants a prize, and most people are willing to spend a little more to get one. At least that’s been the experience of Tiffany Amorosino. The co-owner of Bella Sante Spa uses a platform called OfferLink by Cartera to reward customers with free gift cards when they meet certain purchase price thresholds.

Since opening her spa in 1996, Amorosino has seen a significant shift in the way SMB marketing is done. “I’d say, the movement is away from any kind of media purchase that isn’t quantifiable,” said Amorosino. “If I take a $10,000, $15,000, or $20,000 magazine ad, I’m hoping people are reading that, I’m hoping they’re seeing it, but there is no way to really measure it.”

Focusing on results
Amorosino now focuses the bulk of her marketing budget on two platforms that she feels offer those quantifiable results: Demandforce and OfferLink. “Over the last couple of years, we have invested in search engine optimization for our website, and tested a lot of stuff to see what works. We invested in a bunch at the beginning to get our ranking up. Once our rankings got up, we decreased the amount of SEO we did, as far as investing in retargeting ads and making sure we had the right keywords,” said Amorosino.

Over the last 18 months, Amorosino has invested in Demandforce for email segmenting. “It really does allow us to hyper-segment our existing clientele for specific offers,” said Amorosino. She also uses a card-linked program called Offerlink to reward her most frequent customers and drive up the average purchase price at her spa.

A hands-free solution
Amorosino considers OfferLink a hands-free program, and says she isn’t even sure how her customers link up their credit cards. “That’s also the piece that makes it easier for us. The offer comes from OfferLink. I honestly don’t know how it is,” said Amorosino. “Let’s say you’re an AAdvantage member [with] a MasterCard, you’re getting these offers in your credit card statement or you’re getting [them] directly from the credit card company.”

The offers that Amorosino refers to are $25 gift cards that customers earn when the purchases they make with their linked credit cards at Bella Sante Spa reach a certain dollar amount. Customers can also earn 30%-off discounts on specific services. When Amorosino started using OfferLink, she says the average purchase to get a reward was between $150 and $175. Now, after nine months of using the program, she’s been able to inch the average purchase up to somewhere between $200 and $225.

“The customer is incentivized to increase their purchase size in order to meet the mark to get the reward,” said Amorosino. “There’s more spending in general. The guest comes in and spends more. I would [also] say [they’re] higher qualified leads. Those are the largest benefits.”

Although Amorosino spends the bulk of her marketing budget on digital programs, she wouldn’t necessarily recommend that new business owners take the same approach. She says first-time spa owners should invest in building their websites before anything. “[Make] sure you have some good rankings, so people know you exist,” said Amorosino.

After that, the next step in Amorosino’s beginner’s marketing plan would be to promote word-of-mouth referrals. “[Incentivize] your best clients to bring their friends in and family,” said Amorosino. “[And] really make sure you’re delivering service, because if one person has a fabulous time, they’ll tell three to five people. If one person has a horrible time, they’ll tell hundreds.”

The Takeaway
Digital loyalty platforms have become ubiquitous, especially at spas and salons. What makes OfferLink unique — and one of the main advantages of the program, in Amorosino’s eyes — is the hands-off approach merchants can take.

By participating in a card-linked program, Amorosino can reward customers and increase her average purchase prices without worrying about the day-to-day minutia that usually comes along with running a loyalty program. Employees at Bella Sante Spa aren’t responsible for onboarding, upselling, or issuing rewards, and they can direct anyone with questions or concerns about their program to OfferLink for more specific customer information.

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.

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Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.