Client: Hudson’s Bay Company, Toronto

Campaign: Holiday 2001 DM Initiative

Agency: Vickers & Benson Direct & Interactive, Toronto

Creative Directors: Steve Murray and Bryan Tenenhouse

Copywriter: Shawn Heissler

Art Director: Tracy Coen

Pre-holiday spending accounts for around 40% of the retail year’s sales, placing tremendous pressure on business performance in this period. Little wonder then that Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) chose to leverage shopping behaviour information from its databases to create a pre-holiday DM program.

The goal was to re-establish a relationship and generate sales with once high-value HBC Rewards members – mostly women 30 to 55 years with children – who had recently lapsed from shopping (and who also had an HBC, Bay or Zellers credit card, and lived within 200 km of a Bay store and within 100 km of a Zellers store). Using its customer information file, HBC identified and targeted around 200,000 customers who had been between three to six months inactive from using their Rewards card – symptomatic of a disenfranchised customer.

A seasonal, elegant folder-style DM piece personalized to the recipient on letterhead and coming from the desks of the presidents of Zellers and the Bay – was designed to show customer appreciation, as well as remind and reward customers. The campaign also ventured to provide learnings on the impact of messaging to lapsed customers – would they come back to the store with DM? Was an offer required?

The DM offered either HBC Rewards bonus points, a percentage-off discount or a dollar-based gift certificate good against any spend in either/both Bay and Zellers in December. Offers were tested against cells with no offer – the non-offer group had a lift note reminding them of the benefit of shopping at the Bay and Zellers: HBC Rewards.

Over 50% of the target customers responded to the DM, with no-offer cells performing almost as well as offer cells.

More than just paying for itself, this customer retention DM generated a 46.4% ROI on gross profit, especially noteworthy given the fact that the target was lapsed customers. Further, targeted customers spent more than control: +3% incremental vs. control for Bay customers; +6% for Zellers customer.


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