HBC adds newest piece to CRM strategy

Hudson's Bay Company is a lot closer to its goal of becoming a completely customer-centric organization. ...

Hudson’s Bay Company is a lot closer to its goal of becoming a completely customer-centric organization.

Earlier this month, the retailer unveiled one of the major pieces of its CRM effort, its new loyalty initiative, HBC Rewards – Canada’s biggest reward program, according to officials. (Late last year, as part of its customer-driven efforts, it introduced credit card reciprocity, which allows HBC and Zellers credit cards to be used interchangeably at both stores.)

‘We have to be able to offer customers what they want and when they want it. We need better insight into their spending – we have gaps in knowledge of how customers spend,’ said George Heller, president and CEO of Hudson’s Bay Company at the time of the launch. ‘We’re moving to a CRM capability with this program – to be able to identify the best customers and make sure that we treat them accordingly.’

In the long run, the new loyalty program is a cornerstone to CRM – one that will allow the company to further understand the current customer, and thus offer improved service and more targeted offerings, as well as create new business opportunities, says Rob Shields, VP customer relationship management and loyalty

‘Lots of organizations have customer data, but not in a way that’s useful,’ David Poirier, executive VP, CIO of Hudson’s Bay Company told attendees of the Canadian Marketing Association’s National Convention, two weeks ago in Ottawa.

‘We had all kinds of data in different places – we didn’t have a single view of the customer. We thought a Zellers customer was a Zellers customer and the Bay customer was an entirely different customer. There’s huge crossover, and yet we treated them like an entirely different population.

‘Our organization is now switching from an organization that has traditionally been focused on selling more products to consumers, to an organization that’s now focused on managing relationships with customers,’ he says, citing credit card reciprocity and HBC Rewards as just two instances, of many more, where the new value-based orientation will be evident.

HBC Rewards enables members to earn points at the Hudson’s Bay family of stores, including The Bay, Zellers, Home Outfitters and hbc.com. The program launched with 7.35 million members automatically enrolled through the existing 6.5 million Club Z members and the initial enrollment of 850,000 Bay customers. Consumers can redeem points for over 600 rewards in the HBC Rewards catalogue, including travel, leisure and entertainment items, Air Miles reward miles or Bay and Zellers gift certificates.

Within the two-tiered program, members will earn 50 points for every dollar spent at any of the Hudson’s Bay Company family of stores. Gold members (those who earn 75,000 base points in a year) will earn 50 base points and 50 bonus points for every dollar spent. (HBC Rewards members who use their Bay or Zellers credit cards when making purchases will earn 25 credit bonus points for every dollar spent, and 15 points for every dollar spent on their CIBC HBC Rewards VISA.)

The HBC Rewards rollout will be accompanied by a mass-media campaign, created by Toronto-based Wolf Group, that will include two national TV spots, two 30-second and two 60-second national radio ads and in-store promotions.