How we launched a loyalty program for Under Armour in two days and didn’t go crazy

16 Aug ‘19

Under Armour— Under Armour is an American sports attire producer. Their stores in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Ekaterinburg are represented by VostokInvest, their exclusive franchising partner. The cash register of choice here is 1C Retail.

VostokInvest launched a multitiered loyalty program for Under Armour in 15 stores with four promotions, ten automated campaigns, support for virtual cards on smartphones, and authorizations at the cash register via SMS.

If you have 1C, an existing loyalty program, and want to get involved in personalized marketing but are afraid to destroy what you already have, then this is a story about you.

Backstory

Prior to transitioning to having their loyalty program processed by Mindbox, Under Armour was running a loyalty program on another service. Bonus points were written off and accrued via third party system utilizing authorizations via SMS. Trigger email-channel communications were set up in Mindbox.

The fact that the loyalty program was already running on another system meant that we needed to transfer it. The difference between transferring a loyalty program and launching a new one is as follows:

  • There are worked out loyalty program rules.
  • Worked out deals in terms of point use and accrual.
  • Clients are already taking advantage of loyalty – downtime can spur negativity.
  • The transfer needs to be carried out at night, while offline stores are closed.
  • It is necessary to transfer existing accounts with accrual histories and relevant loyalty program levels.

The transfer of an existing loyalty program is more complicated than say, launching a new one. Primarily since when launching a new and unique loyalty program, clients don’t really have any formulated expectations.

Anna BulavinaAnna Bulavina,
VostokInvest marketing director (Under Armour brand)

«The sales volume stemming from loyalty program clients within the bounds of our business amounts to 50%, which is why the selection of a CRM platform for us carries a lot of strategical weight.

At the point when we were deciding on launching, we were already working with Mindbox on automated client communication. However, we had the need to automate the trade marketing activation block as well, as all previous activity in this regard was customized specifically for our business tasks, which took up significant resources and stripped us of flexibility in launching quality consumer demand management.

For us, the Mindbox platform became a comprehensive CRM solution fulfilling all of our business tasks.

The professional, involved, and well-coordinated work with the guys from Mindbox and our IT team allowed us to realize an integration with 1C, processing transfer, and smooth client base migration without any losses over a tight time frame».

Why did you move?!

Despite the combination of three systems (Mindbox for communications, OSMI for virtual wallets, and a third system for loyalty programs) managing their functions, we wanted to transfer point processing into Mindbox because:

  1. It allows to build client segments with the help of a constructor and generate personalized promotions for them.
  2. Any automated communications through email/SMS/Viber/push/Telegram/Vkontakte available right out of the box, with and without bonuses.
  3. Accessible A/B tests and personalized promo measurements with the help of a control group.
  4. Unified reporting. You can upload raw data via AP1 to Power BI.
  5. The fewer windows – the better.
Ideally, after transferring loyalty program processing to Mindbox, everything should be operational
Ideally, after transferring loyalty program processing to Mindbox, everything should be operational

What we did

To launch the loyalty program, the following was required:

  • Loyalty program rules.
  • Integration of cash register software and the loyalty program.
  • Installation of communications with clients via SMS, wallet, and email.
  • Condition of account balances and relevant loyalty program client levels during the transfer stage.

More details for each point, right after a review by Kirill, an Under Armour marketer.

Kirill Bogomolov Kirill Bogomolov,
VostokInvest marketer (Under Armour brand)

«After selecting a new platform for loyalty program processing, the Mindbox team and we promptly prepared an action plan and outlined all stages with clear deadlines.

Deadlines were a critical factor for us in this case since the transfer needed to go about in a manner that would be absolutely unnoticed by clients over a period of just a few hours.

Throughout the entire integration, our colleagues from Mindbox provided us with full support over all avenues – setting up promos, segments, full client database migration, finalizations involving 1C.

After carrying out all of our work, we gained a new ability to interact with our clients. More specifically, our personnel started to receive full information on clients. Their purchase history, their status in our loyalty program, and bonus balances directly on the cash register monitor or when completing a purchase. This significantly improves our client service, since it allows us to promptly answer all of our client’s questions in real-time based on loyalty program cards.

The Mindbox team is very competent when it comes to setting up CRM, they easily adapt to business demands, and throughout the entirety of the transition, they demonstrated maximum involvement and promptness in completing tasks».

Loyalty program rules

Under Amour’s loyalty program rules have been drafted for quite some time prior to transferring processing over to Mindbox. All that was needed was to set them up in the interface. In total, we set up four promotions: point reductions and accruals for four levels of loyalty.

Clients are divided into four levels: Participant, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Bigger purchases equate to a higher level. As a matter of fact, the greater a client’s level, the greater the number of funds returned to him as bonus points for completed purchases.

A Participant cannot save and spend points until at least 10 thousand rubles have been accumulated, based on purchases. Bronze participants accrue 3%, Silver-5%, Gold-7%. These three levels can utilize their points. Points lose their relevancy after a year since the time of accrual. They can be used to cover up to 30% of a purchase, anywhere, except for outlets.

Promotions that are responsible for bonus lists in all stores, except for outlets for members of the levels of

Example of a customized promotion with bonuses written off for a segment of Gold level participants

Integration of cash register software and the loyalty program

In order for Mindbox promotions to be utilized in Under Armour registers, we integrated software based on 1C retail 2.2.8. To accomplish this, we received assistance from Specter, and more specifically, their developer, Evgeniy Sergeev, who was finalizing the module deep into the night. Without Zhenya, we wouldn’t have succeeded! 🙂

During a Skype correspondence during the evening of 08/31/2019
During a Skype correspondence during the evening of 08/31/2019, we discussed our MVP, which was set for release during the following day: point write off, accumulation, client registration.

The integration included within itself a data exchange between the cash register and Mindbox, real-time, during the sale completion stage (when an item passes through the scanner), factual sale (when a receipt is handed over), authorization, and client registration via SMS. Since requests from the registers are processed in real-time, this had to be handled very quickly. Average processing times for one call equated to 300 milliseconds.

The average speed of processing a request from the cash register
The average speed of processing a request from the cash register from 20:19 to 20:29

Usually, the process of delaying the exchange of data between two systems takes between one to four months. The incorrect transfer of just one variable causes errors on one side or the other, catching bugs also takes time.

But here, we managed things quite quickly, primarily because we had a ready 1C Retail integration module for Mindbox, which fit Under Armour. The percentage of erroneous calls over a 24-hour period came in at ~ 0.12% of all cash register software calls to Mindbox.

The 1C Retail integration module for Mindbox supports not only point write-offs and accruals, but public and personalized discounts, gifts, cashier hints, and on-receipt prints as well.

Testing the 1+1=3 promotion within the 1C Retail interface launched in Mindbox
Testing the 1+1=3 promotion within the 1C Retail interface launched in Mindbox. It works! Even the MVP didn’t include such a promotion 🙂
Testing on-receipt printing from Mindbox: we can provide available points, name, birthday congratulations, issue a promo code for the next purchase
Testing on-receipt printing from Mindbox: we can provide available points, name, birthday congratulations, issue a promo code for the next purchase. On anonymous receipts – we can issue loyalty program invites 🙂

Communications with clients through email, SMS, and Wallet

A big chunk of loyalty program communications was already set up in Mindbox: a welcome chain, birthday gift, messages about transitions to new loyalty program levels. Prior to transferring our processing, we already had seven automated campaigns. These mailings were sent through our email channel.

Welcome letter example
Welcome letter example

New campaigns upon transferring loyalty that needed to be launched amounted to three – and all of them through the SMS channel:

  1. Confirmation code upon participant registration.
  2. Authorization during point write-offs.
  3. Link to a virtual card for the wallet.

Confirmation code upon participant registration

A client came to the register and wants to become a loyalty program participant and voices his phone number. We send a confirmation code to the number and a link with rules. The client calls out the code and becomes a full-fledged loyalty program participant.

Example of a real SMS with a registration code
Example of a real SMS with a registration code

Authorization during point write-offs

Writing off Under Armour bonus points without an authorization code is impossible. Notify the cash register about your desire to write off points, receive a unique code, dictate it to the cashier, write off your points.

Example of a real SMS with an authorization code for writing off bonus points
Example of a real SMS with an authorization code for writing off bonus points

Link to a virtual card for the wallet

When a client registers for the Under Armour loyalty program, he receives an SMS with a unique link for a virtual card. Below is a screenshot of an Under Armour test card.

Under Armour test card of the author– without a name and purchase amounts
Under Armour test card of the author– without a name and purchase amounts

Balance and purchase amount information are downloaded to the Wallet from Mindbox in real-time. The virtual wallet is realized with the help of OSMICards, with whom Mindbox already has a standard integration.

Condition of point accounts and relevant client loyalty program levels during the transition phase

Since we were transferring an existing loyalty program, it was crucial to transfer appropriate account balances and client loyalty levels from our previous system into Mindbox. A full download of data from our last service helped us in this.

This is kind of how a downloaded client file looks
This is kind of how a downloaded client file looks. I covered personal data.

Messing around in Excel is difficult to call engaging, to say the least. It’s worth noting that clients needed to be loaded between 00:00 to 08:00 Moscow time – while all Under Armour stores were closed. Including the one in Ekaterinburg.

With ready processing, full client histories, established promotions, and communication chains, we launched between the 31st of July and 1st of August. We spent the 1st of August catching bugs in the interface and collecting feedback from clients.

Some clients lost their bonuses. The issue arose in situations where accruals were not found in historical data. At which point we accrued bonuses through the interface.

When you’re loading client balances at 2 AM and made a mistake in the table header
When you’re loading client balances at 2 AM and made a mistake in the table header

What’s left to do

Despite launching with minimal functionality, there were a few things left to finalize.

  1. Client profile page, where the balance can be viewed, personal data can be changed, and email, SMS, or Wallet subscriptions can be managed.
  2. Finalize discount card authorization. Previously a client could present a virtual card barcode and write off his bonuses – currently, that is impossible.
  3. Finally, download full order histories from 1C. Upon launch, the client loyalty program level depended not on the sum of purchases, but on the loyalty program status from the previous system. After downloading historical data based on sales, we can calculate real client loyalty program levels.

Conclusion

In just two days, we launched the Under Armour loyalty program. Over the course of that time, we integrated promotion and bonus processing in the cashier software, launched three communications through SMS, set up OSMICards integrations for transferring virtual card data in wallets and downloaded historical data regarding points and Under Armour client loyalty program levels from the previous system.

It works!
It works!

In the future, the launch of a new user profile, discount card authorizations, downloading historical order data, launch of new promotions, and triggered loyalty program communications await us. In our next blog, we’ll share economic results regarding the loyalty program post its launch on Mindbox.

This story was prepared by

Anna Bulavina

Anna Bulavina,VostokInvest marketing director (Under Armour brand)

Kirill Bogomolov

Kirill Bogomolov,VostokInvest marketer (Under Armour brand)

Nodir Musaev

Nodir Musaev,VostokInvest technical support specialist (Under Armour brand)

Evgeniy Sergeev

Evgeniy Sergeev,director of the Specter development department

Phillip Volnov

Phillip Volnov,project manager

Ilya Tsirulnikov

Ilya Tsirulnikov,loyalty program product owner

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