The Container Store, the nation’s originator and leading retailer of storage and organization products, launched POP!−its new customer engagement program of Perfectly Organized Perks−on July 10 in its 66 existing stores and on its website .

Members will be able to earn $15 POP! Perks throughout the year and will be rewarded with surprises including special offers, exclusive event invitations, product previews and more. Unlike traditional loyalty programs, the POP! program will provide members with custom organizing tips based on their expressed interests and past purchases to help them get started on their next organizational project.

Lucy Witte, Vice President of Customer Engagement Marketing and Media, The Container Store, participated in a compelling interview with Loyalty360 to discuss the new program.

What factors prompted the launch of the new loyalty program at The Container Store?

Our customers have been asking for a loyalty program for years. We knew that we wanted to take the time we needed to create a program that would be different from a traditional loyalty program–and one that is true to our brand. As a storage and organization retailer, it was important that our program be simple and easy to use–minimizing the need for customers to have to keep track of levels or points, plastic cards or coupons. We really wanted to create a program which was intuitive to our customer and drove additional value to their relationship with our brand.

What role did customer feedback play in the creation of this program?

Our customers played a great role in the creation of POP! by providing us with invaluable feedback about what they really wanted in a program. When we embarked on this journey of creating POP!, one of the first things we did was to survey our customer. It was important to know what was meaningful to “her” and what would ultimately deepen her engagement with our brand. One of the top things we learned in the customer survey was that she wanted to hear more from us – she wanted more tips and communication that were customized to her organization challenges and to her lifestyle.

What makes this program unique?

We really feel the approach we have taken by choosing not to create a traditional “points-based” tiered program helps make us unique. Keeping with our goal of simplicity, it was important to us that the program was easy to participate in and drives additional value to our members, we call POP! Stars. The focus of our program is on targeted communication and tips as well as serving up special Perks in a “surprise and delight” manner. This approach requires a lot of focus for us on program and customer analytics to ensure we are creating offers that are relevant and meaningful to the customer. We also know that this level of customized offers and content will evolve over time. One benefit to this approach is the wonderful ‘test and learn’ opportunity it provides which gives us constant learning about what works and what doesn’t. This will allow us constantly refine and optimize the program as we move forward.

What metrics will you use to gauge program success?

We are looking at many different metrics in which we can determine overall customer engagement. Of course, we have goals to drive an increase in shopping frequency and average ticket, as well as incremental revenue driven by POP! Perks.  We are also looking at how engaged the customer is with channel use, how many departments she shops in, what services she uses, and what her overall sentiment is with our brand and our program.

What is your definition of customer loyalty and has that changed at all in recent years?

Customer loyalty to us is unique. We are fortunate to have really great customer loyalty today and really for the past 36 years–without an official loyalty program. Because of this, we wanted to create a program that was more of a “perk” or a “thank you” to our customers than a “program”. Loyalty, to us, is when our customers feel so connected to The Container Store, that they genuinely feel a part of our brand, part of our family, part of the company. We appreciate the fact that we have enjoyed this natural loyalty for a long time and really wanted to just harness and nurture that sentiment through POP!. We feel that the “surprise and delight” model fits well with expressing our appreciation to our loyal customers.

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