General Store Increases Revenue with Loyalty and Gift Card Solutions

COVER STORY

General Store Increases Revenue with Loyalty and Gift Card Solutions

In Spencer, Mass., 10 miles west of Worcester, there’s a general store where you can get a new pair of jeans, outfit your horse with a new halter, buy tropical fish or drive away with a brand new tractor. Klem’s Tractor Inc. reaches a broad customer base.

We noticed the huge growth in gift card sales for retailers across the country. Upon implementation of the Epicor Gift Card solution, the Klem’s management team was able to efficiently implement the move from paper gift certificates to gift cards as a way to increase revenue and provide a loyalty program to customers with in-store rewards.

The Epicor Gift Card solution makes it easy to begin. Klem’s purchased the application, then designed and ordered four different cards. The implementation of the solution was seamless. Gift cards are activated on our existing high-speed credit card terminals. When the gift card SKU number is entered, cashiers are prompted to activate the card. It takes just minutes to learn the system. Transactions are really fast, unlike the slow, hand-written gift certificates we used to have.

The early results we have experienced are impressive. Within the first four months, with no major holidays, Klem’s sold 500 cards with revenues of $18,000. We have gift card displays at all our registers, and our entire sales staff is trained to suggest gift cards when a customer is trying to make a gift decision. Customers appreciate the convenience and flexibility that gift cards offer. We’re confident that revenue will soar even higher over the holidays and this spring for Mother’s Day.

An added benefit of Klem’s gift card program is the rich information available. We know exactly how many gift cards are outstanding, who purchased them, and the value sold and remaining on each card. You just don’t have that visibility with paper gift certificates. We implemented the Eagle Loyalty solution in December 2009, and have signed up over 23,000 customers for the program so far. It’s easy, flexible, our customers love it, and our Klem’s staff and management love it. It’s an all-around win for our business.

The implementation process was very straightforward. Our existing high-speed credit card terminals now work with gift cards and loyalty cards. Within a day and half we had the loyalty program up and running, including all the reporting we’d need to track loyalty customers. The hardest part was determining what type of rewards at what levels we would give to our customers.

We knew that we could use the program for more targeted advertising, but what we have come to discover is that we can use the loyalty program for so much more. It has increased our level of service exponentially. When a customer calls, or comes in to the store, we are able to pull up the customer’s information immediately. This allows us to focus on the customer and have all of the necessary information available to provide the best customer service possible. We can easily retrieve receipts, processing returns faster and hassle-free. We store the customer’s purchase history, which helps with warranty information. We notify customers via e-mail if a product that they have purchased is part of a recall. It’s all about customer service.

Consequently we use the loyalty program to follow up with issues that may have happened during previous employee shifts. We wish we were always perfect, but unfortunately we are not. We are able to research the loyalty customer’s issue and contact the customer proactively. With this solution, we are able to reach out to a customer who may have left the store unhappy and offer them a resolution without them ever contacting us with a complaint.

Klem’s is a local, family-owned business. The company opened in the late 1940s, and we used to know everyone by name. Over the years, as we have grown, it seemed harder to stay in touch with the customer. Now, with our loyalty program, we can bring back that close personal touch that seemed to have been slipping away.

We have big plans for the Klem’s new loyalty program, including future targeted promotions. Since we use Epicor Compass (News - Alert) to filter purchases by product, quantity, and date, we can work with vendors to send vendor-specific coupons. We can launch targeted promotions for a specific brand or even product. That’s a win for our customers, vendors, and us.

Jessica Bettencourt is president of Klem’s.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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