How Under Armour CIS Re-Launched Its Loyalty Program With Mindbox in Just Two Days

16 Aug. ‘19

Under ArmourUnder Armour is an American sports clothing and accessories manufacturer. In Eastern Europe they are represented by VostokInvest, their exclusive franchising partner.

VostokInvest launched a multi-tiered 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 an existing loyalty program and want to personalize your marketing but are afraid to destroy what you already have, then this is a story for you.

Backstory

Prior to implementing Mindbox, Under Armour was using another service to process their loyalty program. Bonus points were redeemed and awarded via a third-party system utilizing authorizations via SMS. Trigger email 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. There are several key differences between launching a new loyalty program and transferring an existing one:

  • There are pre-existing loyalty program rules on the way points can be redeemed and awarded
  • Customers are already using the program, so downtime can negatively impact customer experience
  • The transfer needs to be carried out at night, while offline stores are closed
  • All existing accounts must be successfully carried over to the new system to prevent interruption in the shopping experience

Overall, transferring an existing loyalty program is more complicated than launching a new one because customers already have expectations surrounding how the program should work.

Anna BulavinaAnna Bulavina,
VostokInvest Marketing Director (Under Armour brand)

“The sales volume stemming from our loyalty program customers amounts to 50%, which is why the selection of a CRM platform is very important for us.

At the point when we were deciding on launching, we were already using Mindbox to automate our communications with customers. However, we needed to automate the trade marketing activation block as well. 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 team from Mindbox and our IT department allowed us to achieve an integration with our ERP software, processing transfer, and smooth customer base migration without any losses over a tight time frame.”

Why did you switch?!

Despite the fact that the combination of three systems that we were using (Mindbox for communications, OSMI for virtual wallets, and a third system for the loyalty program) was working, we wanted to transfer bonus point processing to Mindbox because:

  1. It would allow us to build customer segments with the help of a constructor and generate personalized promotions for them.
  2. Any automated communications through email/SMS/push notifications/Telegram are available right out of the box, with and without bonuses.
  3. It has A/B testing and personalized promotions can be tested with the help of a control group.
  4. It would give us access to unified reporting. You can upload raw data via API to Power BI.
  5. It would simplify things – 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.
  • Communications with customers via SMS, wallet, and email had to be set up.
  • Data on account balances and customer loyalty program levels during the transfer stage.
Kirill Bogomolov Kirill Bogomolov,
VostokInvest Marketer (Under Armour brand)

“After selecting a new platform for our loyalty program, Mindbox and Under Armour teams 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 happen in a manner that would be absolutely unnoticed by customers over a period of just a few hours.

Throughout the entire integration, Mindbox provided us with full support across all avenues: setting up promos, segments, full customer database migration, and more.

After carrying out all of our work, we gained a new ability to interact with our customers. More specifically, our team started to receive full information on each customer: their purchase history, their status in our loyalty program, and bonus balances directly on the cash register monitor during purchase. This significantly improved our customer service, since it allowed us to promptly answer all of our customer’s questions on the loyalty program in real-time.

The Mindbox team is very competent when it comes to setting up a 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 Armour’s loyalty program rules were well-established prior to transferring processing over to Mindbox. All that was needed was to set them up in the interface. In total, we configured four promotions: point redemptions and accruals for four loyalty levels.

Customers are divided into the following four levels: Participant, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Bigger purchases equate to a higher level. The higher a customer’s level, the greater the amount of bonus points they will be credited for completed purchases.

A Participant cannot accumulate and redeem points until they have spent at least $200. Bronze participants are rewarded 3% in bonus points, Silver – 5%, Gold – 7%. These three levels can spend their points. Points are valid for a year once earned, and they can be used to cover up to 30% of a purchase anywhere except outlets.

Promotions that are responsible for bonus lists in all stores
Example of a customized promotion with bonuses redeemed for a segment of Gold level participants

Integration of cash register software and the loyalty program

To apply Mindbox promotions at Under Armour’s cash registers, we integrated cash register software. We received assistance from an agency, and their developer helped us finalize the module late into the night.

The integration included a data exchange between the cash register and Mindbox in real time, during the sale completion stage (when an item passes through the scanner), factual sale (when a receipt is handed over), authorization, and customer 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

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

But here, we managed things quite quickly, primarily because we had an ERP retail integration module for Mindbox that fit Under Armour’s needs. The percentage of erroneous calls over a 24-hour period came in at ~0.12% of all cash register software calls to Mindbox.

The ERP retail integration module for Mindbox supports not only point redemption and accrual, but public and personalized discounts, gifts, cashier hints, and messages on receipts as well.

Testing the 1+1=3 promotion
Testing the 1+1=3 promotion within the interface of Under Armour’s ERP software launched in Mindbox. It works! 🙂
Testing printing messages on receipts via Mindbox: we can inform customers of the points they have available, add their name, birthday messages, or issue a promo code for the next purchase. On anonymous receipts, we can issue loyalty program invites
Testing printing messages on receipts via Mindbox: we can inform customers of the points they have available, add their name, birthday messages, or issue a promo code for the next purchase. On anonymous receipts, we can issue loyalty program invites

Communications with customers through email, SMS, and Wallet

A big chunk of loyalty program communications was already set up in Mindbox, including a welcome chain, birthday gift and messages about an upgrade in loyalty program level. Prior to transferring our processing, we already had seven automated campaigns. These campaigns were sent through the email channel.

Welcome letter example
Welcome email example

After transferring the loyalty program, three new campaigns needed to be launched, all of them in the SMS channel:

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

Confirmation code upon participant registration

A customer comes to the register and wants to become a loyalty program participant, giving his phone number for enrollment. We send a confirmation code to the number and a link with rules. The customer then gives the cashier the confirmation 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 redemption

Redeeming Under Armour bonus points without an authorization code is impossible. The customer needs to notify the cashier that they would like to spend their points, receive a unique code and show it to the cashier.

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

Link to a virtual card for digital wallets

When a customer registers for the Under Armour loyalty program, they receive an SMS with a unique link for a digital loyalty 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.

Data on account balances and customer loyalty program levels during the transfer stage

Since we were transferring an existing loyalty program, it was crucial to transfer appropriate account balances and customer loyalty levels from our previous system into Mindbox, all of which needed to be done between midnight and 8 a.m., while Under Armour stores were closed. A full download of data from our last service helped us in this.

Here's what these types of file transfers look like
Here’s what these types of file transfers look like

With processing ready, full customer histories, established promotions, and communication chains, we completed the transition on the evening of July 31st and spent August 1st collecting customer feedback and sorting out the inevitable bugs associated with the launch.

Some customers lost their bonus points. This issue arose in situations where accruals had not been found in historical data. To fix this, we returned these customers’ bonus points through the interface.

When you’re loading customer balances at 2 a.m. and realize you made a mistake in the table header
When you’re loading customer balances at 2 a.m. and realize you made a mistake in the table header

What’s left to do

The initial launch was carried out as simply as possible to make integration smooth and fast, but there were still a few things left to finalize:

  1. Customer 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 customer could present a virtual card barcode and spend their bonuses – currently, that is impossible.
  3. Finally, download full order histories from the cash register software. Upon launch, the customer 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 customer 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 new communications through SMS, set up OSMICards integrations for transferring virtual card data in digital wallets and downloaded historical data on bonus points and Under Armour customer 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, launching new promotions and triggered loyalty program communications await us. In our next post, we’ll share the financial results of the loyalty program post-Mindbox launch.