Cotton On Group launches first loyalty program

Cotton_On_PerksFashion chain Cotton On Group (COG) has launched its first ever loyalty program, with New Zealand debuting the program ahead of a global roll-out.

Dubbed Cotton On & Co Perks, the multi-brand program allows members to earn and redeem rewards across the retailer’s seven brands – Cotton On, Cotton On Body, Cotton On Kids, Supre, Rubi, Typo, and Factorie.

Part of COG’s omnichannel strategy, customers are rewarded through both in-store and online spend, and are able to earn a voucher in one transaction or across numerous transactions. There are also no limits on how many shopping vouchers can be earnt, with a 90-day expiry. Customers also receive a $10 welcome voucher, a birthday gift and other perks throughout the year.

The Perks program supports the group’s strategy of building a global multichannel business, according to Alex Haritou, head of CRM and loyalty at COG by “creating a more accessible shopping experience that, for the very first time, brings all seven of our brands together, while recognising and rewarding our most loyal customers on a regular basis”.

“Perks will allow us to gain an even better understanding of our customers’ needs and shopping habits so that we can evolve our products and service offering to go above and beyond their expectations,” Haritou told IRW.

“Customers want to feel like they matter and are not just a transaction, so this is another way of demonstrating how much we value them, and we hope this will allow us to continue to capture their hearts and minds.”

Haritou said New Zealand has and continues to be a market of firsts for the Cotton On Group.

It was the first country we launched into outside of Australia, the first country where we established an international support centre and the first country where we trialled the rollout of click-and-collect.”

Since launching Perks late in September at Auckland’s Sylvia Park shopping centre, over 90,000 customers have signed up to the program in the first few weeks.

“Our customers in New Zealand are retail-savvy and historically have given us a good read on how new programs and initiatives will fare globally, so we are really excited about what we are seeing with Perks,” she said.

COG aims to have 300,000 members signed up to the program within the first 12 months.

The retailer is also using the program as a tool to gather additional insights into how customers are choosing to shop.

“Often consumers join a loyalty program because they already have some affinity and trust in the brand, so the role of the program has more to do with keeping the trust of the consumer as opposed to earning it,” said Haritou.

“With any loyalty program, the key is to understand what your customer values most and design a program that delivers core benefits which are in line with their expectations, while offering surprise and delight moments along the way.”

Structuring the program to ensure consumers feel like the benefits are attainable has been a critical component of the program so far according to Haritou.

Cotton_On_Perks_shop_window“If you have too many hurdles to obtaining the perks that a loyalty program has to offer, customers end up feeling disappointed and disillusioned, which can break their trust.

“We have been really conscious of this and designed our program to deliver core benefits that are both appealing and easily attainable for our regular customers.”

As part of the initiative, COG has integrated a philanthropic component, which sees 10 cents from every member purchase donated to the Cotton On Foundation.

“As the lifeblood of our organisation, we’re continually looking for opportunities to support the Foundation’s mission to deliver 20,000 quality education places globally by 2020, and we are thrilled to have raised almost $10,000 already through Perks,” said Haritou.

This article first appeared in Inside Retail Weekly magazine.

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