How GNC, Under Armour & Aldo Leverage Personalization to Reshape the Post-Sale Experience

In April 2019, flexEngage CEO collaborated with Glenn Taylor of Retail Touchpoints in an impactful discussion on how GNC, Under Armour and Aldo are leveraging transactional data for a more personalized post-sale experience to keep customers coming back again and again. We’ve gathered some key takeaways from the webinar so our readers can discover how these brands are transforming standard transactional touchpoints into highly personalized marketing channels that drive loyalty and revenue.

When We Say Leveraging Personalization to Reshape the Post-Sale Experience, What Exactly Are We Referring To?

“Today when we talk to most retailers, we hear they are all looking for ways to be more personalized and relevant. They are also examining their entire purchase journey to make sure they are making the most out of every single customer interaction. There is one area, however, that is traditionally largely ignored or under-leveraged, and that is the post-purchase transactional communication. We're talking about things like paper receipts, packing slips, shipment notifications, order receipts, survey emails or any communication that is issued after the purchase is made. We believe that these are all powerful vehicles that can drive customer engagement and they can also fuel loyalty when properly leveraged and personalized. Retailers can improve their overall customer experience by focusing on these post-purchase communications.”

-Tomas Diaz, CEO of flexEngage

What Problem Were You Trying to Solve by Enhancing Your Transactional Touchpoints?

“It was very basic but foundational. We had hundreds of millions of transactions per year, but we could only identify roughly 20 percent of the customers. We did what most retailers would do- would you like to join our mailing list? The idea was, what could we provide that would encourage customers to identify themselves and proof of sale is something that customers want at the end of a purchase. We’ve been able to re-frame the conversation to “Give us an email address because we can provide you with this augmented receipt that’s much better than the paper receipt.” So, we were solving just for visibility, to begin with, and it's been a great success, with our visibility now at 62 percent. This has been a phenomenal increase in just the space of three years. This has also provided us with the ability to build customer profiles to understand better what the customer is doing and inform future communications with them.”

- Sandra Martineau, Aldo Director of Loyalty & CRM

“At GNC we've been on a personalization journey, and this is one of the touchpoints that we use for customer retention and also for repeat trips. We know that customers access their receipt multiple times for various reasons, so we want to be present for them with multiple tiers of messaging to meet their needs.”

- Jennifer Biefel, GNC Director of Customer Marketing & Loyalty

“Oftentimes the receipt at the end is forgotten. For many years, UnderArmour had a digital e-receipt with our out of box point of sale solution, and we used it, but it was kind of antiquated. It was a pdf image of your paper receipt. Under Armour’s mission is to make our customers better, and there was nothing about that receipt that was making us better. We decided to see what was out there and what could be possible with this platform.”

- Brent Ott, Under Armour Senior Manager of Athlete & Teammate Experience

How Have You Leveraged Digital Receipts in Particular to Address these Challenges?

“Our biggest issue was visibility, and we’ve been able to get the customer on board with identifying themselves every time they come in for a transaction, really making a difference between straight acquisition of email addresses and overall capture to truly understand what our customers are doing. It’s enhanced our customer profiles since now we can fully understand what our customers are purchasing when they're coming to our stores, and marrying that with what they're purchasing online. It's allowed us to improve recommendations and how we speak to the customer going forward. We're now talking to our franchise partners about introducing similar solutions as they're ramping up their own businesses.”

- Sandra Martineau, Aldo Director of Loyalty & CRM

“We are using digital receipts to drive personalization and repeat sales. We’ve made the receipt more engaging, and we use it to drive interaction to lead to the future purchases by using the images linked to products, which is by far the most used part of our receipt. We’ve enhanced beyond that with ways to drive upsell and capture feedback and drive loyalty engagement.”

- Jennifer Biefel, GNC Director of Customer Marketing & Loyalty

“The minute we rolled it out, to go from having text and hyperlinks to a pdf of the paper receipt to having an HTML based marketing tool, an Under Armour branded receipt with links within it of the product they just purchased, that takes them back to UnderArmour.com. The minute we launched it, we saw the initial challenge that we were trying to resolve was fixed. It was a big win.”

- Brent Ott, Under Armour Senior Manager of Athlete & Teammate Experience

What Kind of Results Are You Seeing From Your Program?

“I can't say it enough, the capture rate is the biggest one for us. We got 3 million new email addresses within a year of launching the program and increased our email capture rate from 20% to 60%. It's also a much more inspiring experience, and it's allowing us to engage the customer in ways that just aren’t possible when they’re walking out with a paper receipt. It maintains the conversation a little bit longer. We’ve been able to serve up content either for upcoming collections in a way that we wouldn’t be able to do. A lot of our customers aren’t paying attention to our promotional emails, but the e-receipt gives us the opportunity to talk to an audience that wouldn’t necessarily be paying attention to the daily emails. We’re quite pleased with the results.”

- Sandra Martineau, Aldo Director of Loyalty & CRM

“We’ve seen some really interesting and somewhat surprising results from our digital receipt. We typically use the top of the receipt for a promotional area. We have a two-tiered loyalty program at GNC, and we're always trying to encourage people to upsell into our paid loyalty program. We include ads to encourage people to join that program. We have seen a 10x lift for that targeted paid loyalty program. The middle of the receipt is where people are engaging the most, where they're looking at the product and information on it. We are interested in selling subscriptions, for people to set up for recurring delivery of the product. And we're seeing that people are taking advantage of this, with over 10% of purchasers choosing the auto-delivery option when they're going to look at that product.  And at the bottom, you'll see product suggestion, and we're seeing a 7% increase in sales of those products that we're specifically recommending to them.”

- Jennifer Biefel, GNC Director of Customer Marketing & Loyalty

“We are pretty new in our product; we just launched at the end of last year. We've seen some pretty positive results on our end, with great feedback from the store teams. They’re definitely more willing to talk about an e-receipt and offer an e-receipt to the customer than they were in the past, so that’s a big win. The adoption and the fact that the e-receipt is mobile-friendly and HTML based is helping our survey program. We are seeing a huge win with our customer feedback surveys, just by putting a thumbs up or thumbs down on a receipt; we are able to see a pretty huge increase in customers’ willingness to show us how their in-store experience was.”

- Brent Ott, Under Armour Senior Manager of Athlete & Teammate Experience

Beyond the Primary Objectives, Are There Other Benefits You’ve Realized That May Not Have Been Apparent at First?

“For starters, it gave us yet another channel to communicate efficiently with our customers. We get strong KPIs with our customers because it’s a transactional communication. We were able to deliver messaging surrounding upcoming events in-store. We were able to find a new home for our voice of the consumer surveys. It also drives additional traffic to our website. The vast majority of our customers shop exclusively in-store and little by little we can give them the opportunity and incentive to visit our website. We’re leveraging predictive intelligence based on the purchase you just made, both for complementary products or others in the same style category. We’re also using it to register customers into our engagement program.”"

- Sandra Martineau, Aldo Director of Loyalty & CRM

“As we've continued to engage with this digital receipt program, we've found new ways to engage with our customers. One of the things we've recently started testing is asking customers for a store review for our website. That's driving search ranking; it's an added benefit that's helping us with omnichannel interaction that I would never have thought would be possible with a digital receipt. This area is getting a lot of attention, and it's been so successful that we're continuing to explore other ways to drive these reviews and looking at product reviews in addition to store reviews.”

- Jennifer Biefel, GNC Director of Customer Marketing & Loyalty

“The biggest success that we didn’t realize at first was the open rates. The digital marketing team was really excited that the open rates were as high as they were. Once we went live, we saw that it could drive global campaigns worldwide. It was exciting to see the cross-channel sales, being able to drive traffic to the website, to make purchases from your retail store. When you think about being where the customer is at all times, this is really getting to them where they need to be.”

- Brent Ott, Under Armour Senior Manager of Athlete & Teammate Experience

What Is Next for Your Transactional Communications?

“On our short-term timeline, we are looking to launch loyalty so we’ll be integrating flexEngage as a way to get the word out and facilitate signups through a hyperlink on the e-receipt. We’ll also be able to eventually provide summary wrap-ups of the loyalty activities, so the customer understands where they are vis-à-vis the different thresholds.”

- Sandra Martineau, Aldo Director of Loyalty & CRM

“We have a couple of initiatives that we're working on with flexEngage. The first is printed receipts. We do have customers who come into our stores and want a printed receipt.  We're looking at ways to serve more personalized offers to the customers on that printed receipt. We're just at the tip of the iceberg with personalization, so we want to be able to get those offers to each person that comes into our store. Secondly, we've just recently launched digital packing slips. Traditionally when an online order arrives, you get that piece of paper that's just a packing slip and doesn't really serve that great of a purpose. We've converted that to a digital touchpoint where we're able to tell the customer what's arriving in their package, and also send an offer for another purchase via the store. We see some great traction with omnichannel engagement between our online and store customers.”

- Jennifer Biefel, GNC Director of Customer Marketing & Loyalty

 “We’re looking forward to expanding our product recommendations. Right now, we have standard offerings on the receipt, but we are working on hooking that up to our personalization tool so that every individual would get a recommendation based on the purchases they've made that day. It will drive them back to UA.com so they can make a purchase, and we're looking at bounce-backs and channel-specific offers for our different types of stores. And we want to find ways to tie it with our global campaigns so that we can promote our newest products. We're also looking to expand digital receipts internationally since the receipts are being used only in North America at this time.”

- Brent Ott, Under Armour Senior Manager of Athlete & Teammate Experience

Discover How You Can Leverage Personalization for Your Retail Stores

Aldo, GNC and Under Armour are all using the flexEngage suite of solutions to better leverage their transactional data and touchpoints. flexEngage empowers these retailers to improve post-sale personalization, generate more revenue from their best customers, and improve in-store loyalty and bounce back. Unleash the power of personalization in your store’s transactional communications. Contact flexEngage to learn more.

Let flexEngage reimagine your transactional communications. REQUEST A LIVE SAMPLE

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Download: Retail Touchpoint Webinar Presentation