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Loyalty Newswire
March 27, 2023

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on March 27, 2023

In this week's Newswire you can enjoy a curated list of the latest customer loyalty, technology, payments, and other relevant marketing news. We include a spectrum of topics, all with the intention of keeping you informed and enabling you to star in your next big meeting.

The Loyalty Newswire makes it simple for busy professionals (e.g. YOU) to quickly digest important industry news and trending topics. Keep reading!

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Stay. Loyal. Always.

Will subscription loyalty get a boost from retailers decision to back away from free shipping benefits?

Digital Commerce 360 found that, as of last August, nearly three-quarters of the top 1,000 U.S. retailers offered some form of free shipping, with 45 percent requiring a minimum purchase. But you can expect that this majority percentage will decline over time and the retailers who do continue to offer this perk will add conditions to make it available. This interesting discussion is covered in RetailWire today and notes that Foot Locker, Zara, Abercrombie & Fitch and others are making adjustments to their free shipping policies. Even Amazon has made changes as it no longer guarantees two-day shipping on all orders. Starbucks, Dunkin’ and now Chick-fil-A have recently made changes to their rewards programs that raise the threshold to earn rewards and a general dilution of point value by several airline and hotel brands, it is clear that the economic conditions present today are having a big impact on loyalty program value propositions. Will subscription loyalty fill the void to allow retailers to justify continuing these benefits?

Underperforming retail stores signal more changes to loyalty programs are on the way

Foot Locker CEO Mary Dillon announced plans to simplify the business and close underperforming stores. The “Lace Up” strategy will include the closing of about 400 stores by 2026. As part of the strategy, Foot Locker said it will “revitalize” its relationship with Nike, focusing on basketball culture and youth. Amazon said it will eliminate 9,000 jobs by the end of April. Most of the cutbacks will take place at AWS and Twitch gaming. This announcement comes after a previous one that called for the elimination of up to 18,000 jobs. Designer Brands, the parent of DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse announced in an earnings call that it plans to “pare back every line of spending possible” in its business. And, Bed Bath & Beyond continued to trim its business footprint, announcing that it would eliminate 1,300 jobs at four locations in New Jersey. This might be a good time to refresh your analysis of loyalty program results for your program and anticipate changes that may be required by economic tightening.

Arko makes a competitive offer to acquire Travel Centers of America

Ohio based-based TravelCenters of America is the nation's largest publicly traded full-service travel center network with 281 locations in 44 states. TA also has more than 600 full-service and quick-service restaurants and nine proprietary brands, including Iron Skillet and Country Pride. Wise Marketer shared the news here that Travel Centers of America had reached an agreement to be acquired by BP for around $1.3 billion in early March. BP is #7 on CSP’s Top 202 convenience chain listing, while Travel Centers ranks #29. What seemed to be straightforward is becoming more complex as Arko, the parent company of convenience operator GPM has floated an offer of $92/share they say has “no financing related conditions”. On March 22, TA's independent board members determined that the proposal didn't constitute a superior proposal to the BP deal. The battle for Travel Centers is fully engaged.

Epsilon Loyalty Lab is coming to Austin, Texas on April 18, 2023

We tried to keep this secret for a while, but the door to registration for the first-ever Epsilon Loyalty Lab is open. This one-day event is jointly hosted jointly by The Wise Marketer Group and Epsilon, with supporting sponsors Adobe and The Loyalty Academy™. The theme of this exclusive, high touch event is ”Moving beyond transactional loyalty." Phil Rubin, will be presenting and moderating interactive exercises. He will be joined by Shannon Ottinger and Brad Macdonald from Epsilon. Led by this highly experienced panel, attendees address the relationships between Customer Experience, Customer Engagement and Customer Loyalty. You can learn more and register here.

Sabre and Capillary team up to support airlines and hospitality brands build customer loyalty

Sabre Corporation, a leading software and technology provider that powers the global travel industry, announced an agreement with Capillary Technologies, a best-in-class loyalty management and customer data platform provider that delivers AI-based, cloud-native SaaS programs and solutions. Through the agreement, Sabre has incorporated the Capillary Loyalty Management solution into the Sabre platforms for airlines and hoteliers, adding Capillary's advanced loyalty management capabilities to their comprehensive offerings.

True Religion launches True Fam Loyalty Program

True Religion, an iconic American denim and sportswear brand, announced the launch of its new loyalty program, True Fam. True Fam Loyalty Program is an important milestone in a series of strategic initiatives transforming True Religion into a digital-first direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand. True Fam will reward True Religion’s most loyal shoppers with a more personalized experience along with exclusive perks, event access and additional savings. The program was co-created and tested with True Religion’s community, who were very vocal in helping the brand identify the ideal tiers and rewards. The program branding borrows from True Religion’s roots and connection to the music industry. Its tiers—Opening Act, Headliner, and Icon—are differentiated by spending threshold and rewards. Each tier offers points based on spending, welcome discounts, birthday discounts, and early access to sales.

Hot Takes This Week

  • Cenomi, the largest vertically integrated retail and lifestyle ecosystem in Saudi Arabia, has officially launched Cenomi Rewards. The exclusive loyalty program offers members the ability to earn points with every purchase made at Cenomi shopping centers and participating Cenomi retail brands, that can then be redeemed for a range special offers, promotions and rewards across participating Cenomi brands.
  • Chick-Fil-A has made changes to its Chick-fil-A ONE loyalty program and the net result will be that it is harder for members to earn rewards. Read more here.
  • Building customer trust is a top priority for U.S. Bank and it is investing strongly in digital customer service to achieve its goals. Elizabeth Tobey, Head of Marketing, FluenCX explains here about a new approach, CXi - customer experience interactions CXi – that uses data and analytics to make a business more intelligent and effective across its customers’ journeys for agent and agentless interactions.
  • DAK’s Market, convenience retailer with locations in Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma launched  a new mobile app to improve loyalty program engagement. You can find all the details you need to know about DAK’s Rewards here.
  • QSR Subway has close to 37,000 locations across 100 countries and just reintroduced its Footlong Pass subscription program. The month-long sandwich subscription unlocks 50% off a footlong sub every day for $15. Subway introduced the industry's first sandwich subscription in August 2022 as an exclusive perk for its Subway MyWay® Rewards members, and sold out of all 10,000 passes in less than six hours. Now, the Footlong Pass is back with 250,000 passes up for grabs.
  • The CRMC made its first announcement of brand presenters for its 2023 event to be held in Chicago June 7-9, 2023. Brands announced include Adidas, Build-a-Bear Workshop, Chico’s, GNC, Lifetime, London Drugs, Majid Al Futtam, Nascar, NBA, Pep Boys and Sonesta. More announcements will be coming soon.

Quotes of the Week: Trust & Retention

Trust is the foundation of a bank’s relationship with its customers, and it is this trust which gives banks access to customers’ most personal information: their data, financial information, and livelihood … Elizabeth Tobey, Head of Marketing, FluenCX

“Customer retention is one of our top priorities as we evolve to become primarily a DTC brand,” said Michael Buckley, Chief Executive Officer, True Religion. “Our new True Fam loyalty program will allow us to maximize customer retention and customer lifetime value, both of which are essential to True Religion’s continued growth.”

Stay. Loyal. Always.