Case Study: Using a Card-Linked Loyalty Program to Gain Customer Insights

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KCMerchant: Karma Couture
Market: East Greenwich, Rhode Island
Platforms: Swipely, PunchTab, Constant Contact, Perfect Audience
Results: Collected 1,500 email addresses with PunchTab
Bottom Line: Customers are more motivated by deals that offer a fixed discount than a percentage-off.

The key to getting ahead on Main Street is to stand apart from the competition, and Karma Couture business manager Sarah Kirinsky says a number of hyperlocal marketing platforms have made achieving that goal more attainable.

“There is a lot of competition locally,” says Kirinsky. “Just on our street, there are four or five similar shops.” In an effort to separate her upscale resale boutique from competitors in the area, Kirinsky has started working with vendors like Swipely, PunchTab, Constant Contact, and Perfect Audience. She uses the platforms to reward loyalty, host online giveaways, and retarget existing customers with email newsletters and exclusive offers.

Although Kirinsky had researched numerous loyalty programs, she ultimately decided to work with Swipely because of the company’s card-free, maintenance-free approach. As a resale boutique with more than 4,000 consignors, Kirinsky says the prospect of manually doling out points and tracking redemptions for both online and in-store purchases was overwhelming. “I don’t have to send over any reports. I don’t have to keep track of customer points. There is no additional responsibility on my end, other than just getting people to sign up,” Kirinsky.

It wasn’t until after Kirinsky had started using Swipely on a regular basis that she discovered the real reward from her company’s perspective — the analytics. Kirinsky uses the Swipely’s reports to determine which of her promotions is most effective, paying close attention to the common denominators between her best performing offers.

By sifting through all Karma Couture’s campaign information — including data from Constant Contact — Kirinsky has discovered that customers are more motivated by fixed discount offers (like “save $10 when you spend $100”) than percentage-off deals (like “20%-off”). “I always had an idea that those sales seemed to work, [but] it was more difficult to put your finger on it,” says Kirinsky.

Kirinsky also relies on Swipely’s demographics feature to help guide the placement of her offline advertising. “Demographics [are] really helpful to me now because we’re doing a television commercial, and we’re having to choose which programs to air our commercial on based on the demographic information that the cable company is providing. I’m taking my Swipely data and saying ‘OK, well our Swipely loyalty members are between the ages of 35 and 53, they’re primarily women, they have children,” says Kirinsky. “You have access to more data, which just gives you more power as a marketer.”

Outside of Swipely, Kirinsky uses Perfect Audience for Facebook retargeting and PunchTab to run online giveaways. Kirinsky has skipped over PunchTab’s loyalty features, and instead uses the platform to collect email addresses from customers who sign up for giveaways. In the past six months alone, Kirinsky estimates that she has collected 1,500 emails through her online promotions.

Despite her success, Kirinsky knows that a marketer’s job is never done. She’s always on the lookout for new vendors to work with, doing the necessary research online, reading customer reviews, checking out businesses that currently use the platform, and trying demos whenever they’re available. “I’m all about the demos. I’ll demo everything and anything you give to me,” says Kirinsky. “You kind of see the same thing over and over again out there, so it’s nice to find something new.”

The Takeaway
Karma Couture’s decision to work with Swipely was based on the lack of maintenance required on the company’s end, as well as the types of customer analytics the vendor could provide. Kirinsky has already started putting these analytics to use, relying on demographic data to guide her offline advertising decisions and help create more effective email marketing messages. It’s based on the information Swipely provided that Kirinsky was able to learn that her customers are more interested in coupons with fixed discounts, compared to offers with a certain percentage-off.

Kirinsky has also gotten smarter about the ways she collects email addresses for future marketing efforts, requiring customers to enter their contact information before signing up for sweepstakes and other online promotions.

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.