DSW kicks off new loyalty program

Shoe retailer redesigns its loyalty program based on demand for more "earn and burn" benefits for frequent shoppers.


The DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse has stepped forward with a new VIP loyalty program, designed around users’ desire for more “earn and burn” benefits.

New perks include free shipping on any product, the chance to earn rewards earlier and more often, and the ability to acquire points in exchange for donating shoes to its philanthropic partner (in exchange for donating shoes to Soles4Souls, whose mandate is to “provide shoes for those that need them most,” users get 50 loyalty points).

When it comes to its 1.1 million members – the majority of whom are women – Lauren Reimer, DSW’s SVP of digital, marketing and loyalty, says the company has “listened to how she shops” and has “accelerated the redemption process aligned with what she’s looking for.” Reimer says the $10 welcome gift for new members is aimed at accelerating its user acquisition.

The new program introduces three VIP tiers (Club, Gold and Elite). Club and Gold members earn one point for every $1 spent, while Elite members earn 2 points for every $1 spent (the VIP tiers replace its previous banner-agnostic program. DSW president Mary Turner told strategy that when it thinks strategically about its Canadian business, it is placing DSW in its own “stream,” with Shoe Company and Shoe Warehouse in their own, separate stream. Reimer says “We are in the works of relaunching a specific and differentiated Shoe Company loyalty program, which will happen later this year.”).

According to Reimer, DSW launched the ability to redeem certificates online, based on customer feedback. Previously, they could only redeem them in store. Reimer says that the brand is offering a return policy for elite customers, where they can return shoes up to 365 days later.

“We fully integrated with our mobile app so members can access VIP rewards seamlessly between app, store and web,” Reimer says.

The company also unveiled  survey results of 4300+ loyalty members, many of which influenced the development of the new program. It found, for instance, that more than a third of its customers buy new shoes at least once a month, with 75% owning more than 21 pairs of shoes. Reimer says that makes earn-and-burn style points a great incentive for its frequent shopper segment Respondents were also vocal in their support of birthday rewards, as well as the ability to give back Reimer concedes that while the company faces competition from the likes of HBC, specialty boutiques, and SportChek, it is well positioned by the size of its product offerings as the largest shoe retailer in Canada, and its concept of an “endless aisle,” with an array of shoes from casual to dress, and children’s as well.