As one of the world’s leading book publishers with more than 110 titles published per month in as many as 34 languages and 110 international markets on six continents, Harlequin romances it readers across the globe. Harlequin’s customers are voracious readers and are very comfortable moving across channels and reading formats. They tend not to be dedicated to a single purchase channel. Harlequin’s loyalty program, Harlequin My Rewards, recognizes this behavior and rewards customers wherever they shop.

Putting “her” at the centre

Harlequin already knew its readers are largely women with traditional values, focused on family, faith and community, who believe in happy endings. So the publisher took a customer-centric approach to ensure the right elements were considered throughout the development of its loyalty program.

By placing its reader’s needs first, the company changed the question from “How to get customers to be loyal?” to “How is Harlequin loyal to its customers?” This enabled the company to design customer journey maps that followed the preferences and behaviors of its readers.

“By introducing a rewards program with an emphasis on convenience, we are making it easier for our increasingly mobile readers to easily earn points for reading Harlequin books no matter where or how they shop,” said Lucy Scinocca, director of loyalty and customer Insight at Harlequin. “Harlequin readers, one of the first groups to embrace digital, are avid readers who are always on the go taking care of everyone else.”

By making the program mobile friendly and the activities are easy to complete on mobile phone, they can engage Harlequin My Rewards wherever they are and whenever they can. Members can easily earn points to redeem more of what they want, including more great books.”

Using receipt scanning & personalization

Using Stellar Loyalty’s consumer relationship platform, Harlequin My Rewards uses receipt scanning to solicit and capture direct consumer purchase data. Consumers earn points simply by scanning their receipts anytime via their mobile device. This allows Harlequin to see what had previously been blind to—exactly what that reader is buying and where. Redeeming the rewards is just as easy; customers can use them whenever they like and wherever Harlequin books are sold. There are no store-specific restrictions for readers to worry about.

“Our members are awarded points for the purchases they make, no matter where they are made,” explained Scinocca. “We also reward them for engaging with us online. They can earn points through Facebook activities and surveys as well other proactive efforts like providing book reviews.”

Social and mobile engagement is key to augmenting the member’s experience, as well as providing Harlequin with preferences and insight into their readers.  All of the data gathered from the My Rewards program enables Harlequin to successfully segment readers based on known profile data, stated and inferred preferences, and purchasing information. More importantly, the published can build stronger 1:1 relationships by delivering tailored recommendations, offers and communications.

According to Scinocca, “We’ll be personalizing our member experiences even more with the Stellar Loyalty platform. The opportunity we have with personalization is to gain a better understanding of our members’ preferences and leverage those insights to provide more meaningful and relevant 1:1 experiences.”

Measuring the love

Harlequin uses a scorecard to evaluate program performance on a monthly basis. Then it continually looks for ways to optimize the program by identifying areas for improvement and testing various levers to achieve the desired improvements.

The company measures the success of My Rewards on metrics grounded in business and member value and the results are enough to make any loyalty marketer swoon:

  • 30% of all members have redeemed rewards, with 10% of those redeeming multiple times.
  • 35% of members engage with the program monthly and engagement levels continue to increase.
  • Member feedback is overwhelmingly positive: Eight out of 10 are satisfied with the program and nine out of 10 are most likely to recommend the program to a friend.
  • Lastly, the data shows that the more active their members are in the program, the more likely they are to purchase.

“The more active a member, the more likely to make a purchase, which we’re very happy to see,” Scinocca said. “They spend 1.5 times to 1.9 times more than non-members.”

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of Direct Marketing.

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Narina Sippy

Narina Sippy

Narina Sippy is chief marketing officer at Stellar Loyalty.

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