The Zip Yard is an award winning garment alterations franchise with its distinctive yellow stores located throughout the Island of Ireland. Caroline Wallace, Director at The Zip Yard, tells us about the growth of their loyalty system and how it has played a huge part in increasing retention, driving footfall and ultimately increasing turnover.
“It’s commonly known in retail that it’s 6 to 7 times more expensive to gain a new customer than to retain an existing one.”
With this in mind they created a paper based loyalty programme to encourage repeat business amongst their customer base. Though they quickly found that this paper based system, apart from being expensive, provided little in the way of actionable analytics and crucially didn’t create a touchpoint with customers to give them a “wakeup” to come back in store.
In 2014 they decided to concentrate on mobility and partnered with InteractSMS Ireland’s largest Integrated SMS/Loyalty service which is part of the Phonovation Group. Phonovation have been helping businesses to find a touchpoint with their customers through their phones both cellular and static for the last 28 years and so have proved to be the perfect partner.
The Zip Yard were able to benefit from Phonovation’s wealth of industry experience within the mobility sector and the merging of the existing Zip Yard data and analytics. The result of this was to redefine loyalty for their particular business and customer base. Instead of looking at spend per customer the emphasis was shifted to the frequency of visits per customer.
They were divided into 3 categories:
One time shoppers
Moving customers from category 1 to category 2 or 3 became the main drive. The average frequency per customer was worked out as 1.7 and a target was set to increase this to 2+ visits per customer per year. This would result in a 20% increase in turnover per year.
To achieve this InteractSMS was integrated with The Zip Yards EPOS systems, which created a live CRM database of all their customers and their shopping trends. The InteractSMS digital mobile loyalty programme could now change quickly based on insights into real-time data in a way that wasn’t possible with a paper based or even a loyalty card system while also reducing costs significantly.
The Zip Yard began by sending 2 types of automated messages directly to their customers’ mobiles:
Notifications when customers’ garments are ready for collection. This handy service provides real value for the customer to help improve loyalty but also helped The Zip Yard by reducing non-collected garments taking up room within each of their outlets.
Voucher promotions based on each individual customer’s shopping history.
The Zip Yard have surpassed their 2 visits per customer per year target since they implemented the InteractSMS paperless loyalty programme in 2014. The promotions have become continuously more intricate and effective as more data is added daily.
Customer feedback has told them that people far prefer having all of their loyalty vouchers saved on their mobiles, instead of lost somewhere in their bags. Franchisees prefer how much “slicker and quicker” it is which allows them to serve customers more effectively. But the greatest advantage has been that specifically targeted vouchers are now sent directly to the right peoples phones at the right times. This touchpoint with customers has driven loyalty and therefore The Zip Yard’s success.
Asked if she has any advice for other retail businesses thinking of using an SMS based loyalty system, Caroline says: