Direct Mail Sows Solid Relationships (1,097 words)
Take the instance of the horse owner who is purchasing tack from Quality Stores but is not buying horse feed. "The Archer system allows us to find that opportunity, [create a mail piece] and accurately track what impact that piece is having," says Stapel.
Dave Schneider is executive vice president of consulting and education for NuEdge Systems, and has been the lead in helping Quality Stores use the information in its database to implement its loyalty program. He notes it's important for direct marketers like Quality to think of their customer data as an asset, just like inventory. "My favorite analogy is that you do inventory checks every night before you lock up. You need to do the same with any customer assets."
Quality has worked with NuEdge to develop personalized campaigns where 65 to 70 different messages were used based on transactional data and projection data, Stapel says. Schneider adds, "The data is what tells us 'What message Mr. Smith should get vs. Mr. Jones?'"
Benefits Boost Loyalty
To maintain long-term customer relationships, the ThankQ program's member benefits are numerous and diverse. A rebate plan lets shoppers earn cash back on purchases once they've spent a minimum of $200 annually. The program is tiered, starting with 1 percent cash back on $500 in purchases and stepping up in half-percent increments to a maximum of 3 percent back on purchases of $2,000 or more.
Other benefits of ThankQ include special members-only shopping events, a prescriptions by mail Heartland Home Pharmacy Program and free year-end account summary statements. These statements are particularly popular with the farmers, Stapel says, because some of their purchases are tax-exempt, and they can use the statements to identify these and help in preparing their taxes.
Direct Mail Is the Choice
To keep customers coming into Quality's stores, Stapel needs to communicate frequently with them about new products, special events and sales. "Because of our stores' rural locations, newspaper advertising isn't always an effective way of reaching them." Stapel notes, "Our customer will drive about 30 miles one way to get to our store."