Did Stride Rite Make the Right Call to End Its Loyalty Program?

Stride Rite officials have announced they are ending their Stride Rite Rewards loyalty program, which launched in November 2012.

In an email to program members, company officials delivered the following message:

“Thanks for your loyalty. The Rewards program is ending. As a thank-you take $10 off one item at stiderite.com.”

When contacted by Loyalty360, Stride Rite officials declined to comment on the loyalty program.

On its website, Stride Rite answers the following questions related to the loyalty program:

Why did the Rewards program end? 
Stride Rite is working to bring you the best possible shopping experience. Based on feedback, we have decided to end the Rewards program so we can focus on improving the shopping experience with things like free shipping and free returns for all.

What happens to my earned Rewards? 
Your earned Rewards are yours to use. You can redeem them online anytime before they expire.

When does the rewards program end? 
You will be able to redeem any earned Rewards until their expiration date. Rewards will no longer be earned on purchases after 5/22/17.

What is coming next? 
Stride Rite is constantly looking for ways to optimize the online shopping experience. Our online fit tools are available to help get you the correct fit at home. Free shipping and free returns for everyone are also a few of the things we have implemented to help streamline your online shopping experience.

Will we still receive free shipping and returns? 
Yes. Free shipping and free returns are always available when shopping at striderite.com.

I logged in, but do not see my Rewards account balance. What can I do? 
Please contact our customer service team so they can assist you with information about your account balance and redeem earned Rewards.

In an August 26, 2014 article published in Loyalty360, it says that the Stride Rite Rewards program eclipsed the 1 million-member mark in June 2013 and surpassed 2 million members in less than 18 months.

Stephen Donnelly, Stride Rite Children’s Group SVP/GM of Direct-to-Consumer, told Loyalty360 that, previously, Stride Rite operated a general CRM program, which was primarily single-channel and batch and blast.

“In 2010, we consolidated our database to provide an omnichannel view of the customer,” Donnelly explained. “From there, we were able to test and learn into offers, content, segments, and triggered marketing programs. Our strong foundation in CRM allowed us to identify the need for a loyalty program. And when we asked our customers if they wanted a robust loyalty program, they responded affirmatively.”

Wolverine Worldwide acquired Stride Rite in late 2012, along with the Keds, Saucony, and Sperry brands. Wolverine Worldwide closed 59 Stride Rite stores in 2014, another 120 in 2015, and 25 last year.

Did Stride Rite officials make the right decision to end their loyalty program?

“Stride Rite’s business is serving moms and others who buy footwear for children,” Chirpify CEO Chris Teso told Loyalty360. “Given that its customer is constantly aging out of its product offering, Stride Rite must constantly be focused on new customer acquisition. While Stride Rite plans to keep free online shipping and free returns–now making them available to all customers–Stride Rite is missing an opportunity to truly revolutionize its loyalty program, integrating rewards for social media and mobile engagement. Customers are increasingly likely to engage with the brand in these channels, which, in turn, creates valuable earned media that encourage the customer acquisition Stride Rite’s business model needs.”

Andrew Park, director, CX Strategy, InMoment, also weighed in on Stride Rite’s decision.

“While I applaud Stride Rite for listening and responding to what their customers want, they may be missing an important opportunity by eliminating, instead of evolving, their loyalty program,” Park explained to Loyalty360. “Initiatives based solely on points and even free shipping and returns are neither differentiated nor do they demonstrate that a brand understands what their customers value most. A truly effective loyalty program serves as a rich source of customer intelligence, giving brands the ability to understand whether they’re delivering on expectations, identify new opportunities, and create meaningful, individualized experiences that customers really value.”  

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