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It's my party and I'll cry if I want to

This week I celebrated another birthday. It’s not one worth mentioning, it’s in that unspecific age bracket where you’re no longer young, nor old. I think marketers have become a little wiser and created this age bracket just to make us happy, relevant and meaningful. It’s something like 34-45 years of age. Well I am stuck in there.

Retail has always embraced birthday celebrations as an opportunity to create new news. Another way to engage on a one to one basis in what appears to be a meaningful and relevant way. What does baffle me however is with the ability to peer into my shopping behaviour and right into my shopping basket, retailers are doing very little with my valuable data. So when it comes to my birthday, retailers have done a pretty piss poor job of trying to reward or recognise me, or take the opportunity to find a way to engage directly with me.

My email box gives some insight into just how variable retailer’s efforts have been. Now to contextualise this I have over 40 loyalty cards in my wallet/s and double that with retailers who have my personal details including my DOB.

Top of the Pops

At the top of the list and by far the best at acknowledging the big event was Country Road. I received a mailed personalised Birthday card to “Celebrate your birthday in Style”. This card entitles me to a $30 gift voucher with a full month expiry. In addition, Personal shopping by appointment, free delivery of purchases to retail stores and online, free stock transfers between stores and tailoring on cuffs and hems in store.

Country Road are brilliant at utilising their customer data to tailor offers based on your purchase behaviour and encouraging attachment sales. Following my purchases I receive a follow-up email “hoping I was enjoying my item” and suggesting some additional items to “complete the look” accompanied by an incentive to bounce me back into store asap.

In addition Country Road use their VIP spend data to drive up average ticket through their strategically positioned Spend and Saves. In the past these have been restricted to one shop but their most recent kept driving continually back into store to check out new stock for myself, husband and children.

Spend and save drives significant traffic into store and pushes up average spend.

Farmers is certainly worth a mention as they sent me an e-voucher for a FREE Aromatherapy Company hand cream or Body Wash. I didn’t feel like a scavenger when I redeemed my voucher (which was valid for the entire month), as sometimes when you pass over the voucher it feels like they give you the “eye”. You know that look like you are a second class citizen, similar to the look you get when you redeem Entertainment Book vouchers. As I hadn’t physically printed my voucher, they were happy to simply punch in the code off my email on my phone.

Bottom Feeders

The worst on my list goes to East Day Spa. Whenever you go to East Day Spa you drop a pretty penny. For the second (or maybe third) year in a row, they have sent me an email simply saying they hope I have a great day. It’s not a pretty email, so I don’t consider it a card, or even a kind thought, but a miserable attempt to “engage” with me. If they were clever they would see I haven’t been for a while so perhaps something to encourage a visit would have been appropriate. Something to activate our relationship. Trust me you won’t be seeing me again soon.

Movers and shakers

A mover on my list is Burger Wisconsin. Last year they offered me a free fries with my purchase. This year they have pulled out the big guns and have offered me a free burger. No strings attached. I think this is brilliant, I feel special (their burgers aren’t the cheap and cheerful crap you get at Maccas) and they have been clever recognising that I am not going to go to all the trouble of getting just my burger; we will make a family meal of it. So we get a win, win.

Likewise “nice try” Kikki-K with a $10 voucher. They have sent me reminders all month sporadically to remind me to use the voucher before it expires (in two days). They did give me a month to use it and there were no real strings attached. There is very little you can get in Kikki.K under $10 bucks but hey, they know I am likely to trade-up and purchase a higher ticket item as a treat.

Witchery knows exactly what I spend, how I spend it, and when I spend it. $20 is enough of an incentive for me to get off my bum and go by something as a special treat for me. And they know again I will trade-up and buy a higher value product (or two).

Meh goes to…..

Esprit. Really? You can see when I last spent money with you and you haven’t really sold me on the benefits of your loyalty membership. So giving me 100 e-points with any purchase over the next 4 weeks…. I have no idea what this means.

And who is missing out?

Fly Buys - I am a loyalist who actively uses your card on a weekly basis. Where are you? Why aren’t your recognising me on my special day?

Supermarket retailer (you know who you are) – I drink. And lots. And you know it. And if I didn’t you’d know what “treats” I like and you could add a special little something to my weekly shopping drudgery to say thanks.

Air NZ/Koru – I gather my Silver status is simply too insignificant to matter. I engineer my travel plans around you and all my shopping behaviour as I convert my Fly Buys to Air Points. Where is the love?

Smiggle – I actually don’t want anything but you can’t tell I’m not a kid. You just have my birth date and month. Wouldn’t you think a gesture of recognition of my birthday would drive an unscheduled trip to your store if I were a kid?

Beautician/Hairdresser/Make-up – you know my frequency from your database and my ratio of services vs. product. Could you perhaps pamper me, make me feel good and in the process I will feel so fabulous I will want to spend?

It is surprising the lack of utilisation of data when every retailer and his dog are trying to build “engagement” approaches with their shoppers. If you have data at your finger-tips, and you know there are clear links between customer engagement, frequency of visitation and individual shopper profitability, why in god’s name are you not making the investment in rewarding and recognising behaviour? As a shopper I know my data is a currency, and I do expect that to be paid for in kind. Especially on the day I want pink, sparkly presents.

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