Express Inc

Express Loyalty Program Fueled by Customer Data

by Margaret Brown

We’ve most likely all had experiences with loyalty programs. From our grocery shoppers card to bonus coupons from our favorite clothing store, loyalty programs keep consumers coming back for more. At the recent Customer Relationship Management Conference, Kate O’Shaughnessy Jung, director of loyalty, mobile and partnerships, and Tony Zubek, manager, credit, loyalty, and mobile, for Express, shared how their loyalty program has been revamped with the use of customer data. 

“When the program launched in 2012, it was a real one of a kind…there were two tiers and there was strong participation and adoption right out of the gate. So, the business just thought ‘wow, we hit it out of the park,” said Jung. Over time, Jung explained that the platform fell out of view. With the initial success, the platform was left on autopilot to manage itself. In this time, there was no innovation which led to a large decline in customer return rate opening Express up to financial risk.

“We had an opportunity where we did not evolve with our customer, that was totally key. Our customers were evolving, growing, and adopting new technologies…and we were just kind of resting on our laurels,” said Zubek. At that point, Express knew that the program needed to be overhauled. With the fresh eyes of Jung and Zubek, the team went to work scrutinizing the problem areas. The issue was not the program itself, but the lack of awareness, understanding, and participation surrounding it, explained Zubek. 

“We focused on, how do we get more people redeeming these rewards?” said Jung. Using customer data, the Express team was able to relaunch the program with more value added to the consumer. Access to the program required less data upfront but asked for more data within the program offering the incentive of better rewards. “As they give us data, we reward them in the moment,” explained Jung. 

Using the collected consumer data, Express can now target customers with the styles and items they like. By making the program part of the core brand initiatives, the Express team connected product to engagement by using first-party data.

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