Container Store Says Receipt-Level Data Helps Boost Shopper Loyalty

Receipt-Level Data Helps Organize Loyalty Programs

Tory Marpe, vice president of loyalty and CRM at The Container Store, told PYMNTS that the days of one-size-fits-all loyalty programs are over.

“If you have a loyalty program, customers expect there to be personalization,” she said.

Time is precious to us all, and when engaging with brands, consumers want to feel that the company knows what they value.

Marpe spoke to PYMNTS as part of the “Better Data, Better Outcomes” series sponsored by Banyan.

Merchants who take a blanket approach to their loyalty programs are not meeting consumers where they want to be met. It’s becoming increasingly critical to collect and use information about consumers’ shopping behaviors, and as Marpe said, “understanding what they’re looking at — right now.”

In taking that data in hand and using it, she said, merchants can fine-tune their communications with consumers, no matter whether they are interacting with individuals online or offline.

The Container Store is striving to become not only a “lifestyle brand but a lifetime brand,” Marpe said. Engagement can happen online and in the aisles as sales associates help individuals examine and plan out what they need to do as they redecorate rooms or move into new quarters.

But, she said, storage and organization items — artisanal bins and shoe racks among them — are not consumables as, say, the daily coffee might be (although The Container Store does offer laundry-related goods and candles, which are indeed consumable). She illustrated that among her firm’s loyalty offerings are “insider savings days.” Based upon membership tiers, members are given anywhere from 15% to 25% off a transaction in the first quarter of the calendar year.

“This is prized by our loyalty members, as it gives them a value proposition — but for whatever they need at that point of time … it’s open-ended value,” she said.

The Value of Item-Level Data

Receipt- or item-level data serves as a key indicator — a signal — as to where customers are interested in spending their money, and for The Container Store’s purposes, the projects they’re pursuing, she said. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are increasingly being deployed in service of harnessing data and helping leverage it into actionable insights so that consumers can gain the level of customization and frictionless commerce that they expect.

Asked by PYMNTS what happens after the transaction if a customer is less than satisfied, Marpe stressed that the same granular data can be a boon in cementing customer loyalty. The company has receipt-free returns in place because it has a log of everything that has been purchased by the consumer, and returns and chargebacks are subsequently hassle-free.

“This is another opportunity for engagement,” Marpe told PYMNTS.

“We may see someone purchasing a kitchen item — trying to organize their pantry or the kitchen, and so we can adapt our communications so we’re talking to them about kitchen inspirations,” she said.

That same item-level data — and observing as people put certain items in their online carts or on wish lists — can help the company prod a customer to schedule an appointment online to talk to a representative in a store to help bring the project to fruition, she said.

In this way, “the loyalty program can follow the customer wherever they are, whether they are in-app, they are online or in-store,” she said. “We get to stay top of mind.”

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