When it comes to customer retention, retailers make for great case studies, as they leverage data from their in-house loyalty programs and credit cards to create direct mail efforts that drive repeat store/online visits.
One such type of program is the “secret sale.” Macy’s makes heavy use of this model, such as in a recent self-mailer that teases, “SECRET SALE. Exclusive savings for our best customers” (Archive code #910-171661-0609C). The discounts, which range from 10 percent off housewares to 20 percent off “fashion,” are tied to using a Macy’s credit card to pay for the purchase and presenting the wallet-sized savings card that is perfed to one interior panel of the mailer. To further incentivize purchases, using both the credit card and savings coupon will earn the customer an additional $10 gift certificate for every $50 she spends.
Catherine’s, a national chain specializing in plus sizes, was another retailer that mailed a “secret sale” offer in September (Archive code #910-697948-0609B). This 6˝ x 9˝ postcard mailing offers an extra 20 percent to 50 percent off for the holder, and an additional 5 percent off when she uses her Catherine’s credit card. The mailer also features a scratch-off chance to win a $100 shopping spree; the catch is that a store associate must do the scratching, which requires a customer to come into the store to see if she won.
Sometimes, a retailer’s “secret sale” is so personal that only a few best customers are entitled to it at a time—birthday clubs. Sigrid Olsen, for example, recently mailed a 5˝ x 7˝ postcard in September inviting a customer to “Celebrate your birthday in style! Bring this card in the month of your birthday and receive 15 percent off your regular-priced purchase” (Archive code #910-703852-0609). Sunglass Hut is another retailer to offer a birthday program; the Archive received an envelope effort featuring a birthday card and a $20 gift card back in May (Archive code #910-179778-0605).