Home to more than 1,000 leading brands across fashion, homeware, and beauty, BrandAlley offers its more than 13 million members the labels they love at up to 80% off recommended retail price. BrandAlley is the UK’s largest members-only flash sales website. These online platforms offer heavily discounted products or services for a limited time, typically lasting a few hours to a few days. The significant discounts attract customers and create a sense of urgency, as customers need to act quickly to make a purchase before the sale ends or the available stock runs out.

Key to BrandAlley’s success is its deep understanding of its members and the impressive fact that 70% of these customers keep coming back for more. Fifty-two percent of them buy instantly, purchasing an average of three items, or £140 of value.

Michelle Hurney, head of Marketing at BrandAlley, explains the company’s core principle: “We launch up to 40 campaigns every day that offer up to 75% off on some of the best brands such as Reiss, Dyson, Levi’s, and many more.” Campaigns are exclusively for members and interested customers have to sign up to browse the website and to shop. Registration is free.

How BrandAlley Boosts Purchase Rates by Rewarding Customer Cohorts

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How BrandAlley Boosts Purchase Rates by Rewarding Customer Cohorts
Michelle Hurney, BrandAlley, and Kat Wray, Mention Me, on brand advocacy; video by John Hunt

Focus on Brand Fans

“We have been rethinking the way we identify our best customers, moving away from the traditional view of the most valuable customers being those who spend the most,” Hurney says. For BrandAlley, the true value lies in its brand advocates who provide more than just what they’re spending. She refers to them as brand fans: “It’s about who they’re recommending to BrandAlley. When they tell their friends and family about our site, that’s where the real value is. Word-of-mouth marketing happens to be one of the most effective ways to acquire new customers.”

Reach customers where they are with real-time, personalized, and omnichannel customer engagement

To segment its customers, BrandAlley doesn’t only rely on the lifetime value of a customer (total amount spent by one customer), but accrues the amount spent across a customer’s connections and network. “Through the Mention Me Advocacy Intelligence platform, we’re tracking the true economic value, or ‘extended customer revenue’ of our VIPs, the people who are sharing their favorite brands,” Hurney adds. “This way, we can engage and reward them, and keep them doing what they’re doing.” According to her, other insights become visible as well, like the fact that customers overall are spending less these days while customers from referrals spend more on average and are also far more likely to recommend.

Integration of Mention Me Tactics with SAP Emarsys Customer Engagement

To identify these advocates BrandAlley is working with SAP partner Mention Me, the world’s first customer advocacy intelligence platform. The Mention Me platform uses advanced AI technology to track and provide detailed insights into customers’ advocacy behaviors, like recommending products or services to others. Additionally, the SAP Emarsys Customer Engagement solution includes prebuilt Mention Me advocacy tactics that can allow companies to quickly build personalized campaigns through various channels designed to motivate fans to share and recommend more frequently. Prebuilt workflows make the integration of Mention Me’s unique advocacy data with SAP Emarsys Customer Engagement seamless and easy.  

Kat Wray, director of Strategic Partnerships at Mention Me, explains the benefits: “Our integration feeds Mention Me’s first-party AI-powered advocacy data into SAP Emarsys Customer Engagement in real time to identify BrandAlley’s current and future brand advocates and activate them to drive growth. The combination of advocacy know-how and AI-based insights with SAP Emarsys Customer Engagement have led to a 25% increase of the repeat purchase rate at BrandAlley.”

The overall improvements are impressive: since the go-live of the solution in September, BrandAlley’s customer base has grown, with 12% more customers acquired organically through referrals and a £9.6 million increase in new customer revenue. Customers who are referred to the brand spend 63% more in their first six months, are two times more likely to purchase again, and are three times more likely to refer their friends.

Wray explains how advocacy insights impact customer engagements: “Traditionally one would offer a discount code to a customer who is about to defect, together with a message along the lines of ‘We’ve not seen you for a while, here’s a discount to come back.’ Based on advocacy data, we can now see that some of these customers might not be ready to spend but are more than happy to share and recommend the brand to friends instead – driving indirect revenue. They aren’t inactive customers but engaged advocates.”  

Machine Learning Advances Customer Loyalty

“At Mention Me, we use AI and machine learning to optimize referrals. We have our own AI engine with predictive capabilities that enable marketers to focus their activities on specific customer cohorts,” Wray says. She explains that it is key to understand that not all customers are ready to refer; some people just aren’t at that stage yet, but future advocacy behavior of specific individuals can be predicted. Machine learning also identifies a customer’s propensity to refer at a given moment. Customers with a high propensity to refer will be encouraged to do so. Once brand loyal, customers’ propensity to refer grows, and sometimes so does their propensity to purchase again.

Asked about BrandAlley’s next step regarding advocacy management, Hurney answers: “As we build on our strategic partnerships with Mention Me and SAP Emarsys Customer Engagement, we’re excited to see how our shift of focus from VIPs to ‘very important advocates’ will play an even greater role in our marketing and growth strategy.”

Top photo courtesy of BrandAlley

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