Online loyalty programmes help wholesalers fill data void

Wholesale retailers are using online loyalty programmes to gain insight into customers who purchase in-store

Wholesale retailers are using online loyalty programmes to gain insight into consumers who purchase from high street stores.

Wholesaler retailers face difficulty in gathering information on consumers who buy branded products from resellers such as department stores or shoe stores.

When a wholesaler sends its retail products to a reseller, it surrenders all data insight of the customers who by those products.

Puma is an example of a wholesale retailer losing information to its distribution channels. Although it has 600 stores worldwide, a retail website and mobile offerings, Puma finds it difficult to find out about its consumers shopping in-store because it has such a large wholesale offering.

Speaking at the Demandware Xchange event in Miami this week, Tom Davis, global lead for e-commerce at Puma, told Computer Weekly: “In the world of footwear, getting data from the wholesalers is very difficult. We don’t have loyalty programmes, so we have no way of connecting to those consumers if they’ve bought through an indirect channel."

Puma is gathering data from its online channels to try to “fill the void” left by the wholesalers. “There’s always a little bit of a gap, but the e-commerce channel is filling in that consumer gap,” said Davis.

Online loyalty schemes gather data

Meanwhile, wholesale retailers with online loyalty programmes, including Clarins and Lancôme, are finding they are able regain this in-store consumer data by encouraging people to register their products in exchange for offers, information and free samples.

As part of its omni-channel offering, Clarins launched a global online loyalty programme called Club Clarins in 2012. The programme allows the wholesaler to have a relationship with the consumer, regardless of where they shop.

Speaking to Computer Weekly, Han Wen, vice-president of digital and e-commerce Americas, Clarins, said: “For brands in particular, retailing was never really thought of. As brands, your primary focus was to build your brand, use traditional forms of media to disseminate the brand and then use distribution channels and retailers to sell your product.

“Because the retailer stands in the way of the brand having a direct relationship with the customer, the challenge now is to think of creative ways to still have that engagement with them.”

Wen said Clarins benefits from the loyalty programme data because it can learn what the customer does and doesn’t like, what they are buying, their purchase frequency, and where they are buying the products from.

“The only channel where we really know all this information is digital. Outside the digital channel we lack this visibility,” she said. "Having that information allows us to tailor our offers and service to the client.”

Lancôme, too, has just launched a loyalty programme, Elite Rewards, through which consumers can register products and gain points. 

"It gives us the data we can use to make sure consumers have the best experience in retail and online,” said Martin Aubut, head of e-business and interactive marketing at Lancôme parent L’Oréal.

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