Shoe Carnival Focuses on the Right Areas As It Seeks Enhanced Brand Loyalty

Founded in 1978, Shoe Carnival operates 424 stores in 35 states throughout the Midwest, South, and Southeast regions (and Puerto Rico) and is one of nation’s largest family footwear retailers, offering a broad assortment of moderately priced dress, casual and athletic footwear for men, women, and children.

Shoe Carnival CEO Cliff Sifford said during the company’s recent third-quarter earnings call that the overarching goals have been “focused on building a fun, exciting, and memorable experience for our customers, regardless of how they choose to shop with us.”

This year, Shoe Carnival re-platformed its e-commerce site to enhance performance and reliability, launching a SMS program for customers that prefer text messages while moving away from traditional marketing venues to a more robust always-on digital program.

Shoe Carnival’s No. 1 initiative for 2017 is the implementation of a holistic CRM strategy.

“We are now in the final stages of implementing the strategy,” Sifford said. “This initiative is instrumental and focusing the entire organization to a more customer-centric model. Once this project is complete, we will leverage customer insights to better serve our customer and further differential the Shoe Carnival brand. With the ever-evolving way our customers receive information and how they choose to shop, this project will aid them both keeping our core customer engaged in the Shoe Carnival brand and the acquisition of new loyal customers. In addition to the CRM strategy, over the next year, we will enhance our loyalty program, Shoe Perks, to award our high-value customers and to incentivize all our loyal customers to make Shoe Carnival their store of choice for all their footwear purchases.

Gina Fleck, Director of Loyalty at HelloWorld, talked to Loyalty360 about Shoe Carnival’s path to greater success, particularly the company’s focus on a more customer-centric model that will leverage customer insights to better serve its customers and provide further differentiation.

“These are the right areas to be focused on,” Fleck explained. “Customers, especially those who belong to a brand’s loyalty program, increasingly expect a more personalized experience. As much as Shoe Carnival can tailor the shopping experience, whether online or in-store, the better for retaining customers long-term. One effective way to do this is to leverage the loyalty program to collect valuable customer data that can be used to personalize the experience. Things like gender, household information, shoe size, favorite styles, or even the customer’s home state can serve as extremely useful tools in their personalization tool kit.”

Enhancing its loyalty program, Fleck said, is another positive move for Shoe Carnival.

“It's definitely a challenge to balance the priorities of acquisition tactics with retaining and engaging the core customer base,” Fleck explained. “Leveraging the loyalty program is a smart move, and focusing on enhancing the experience for all customers, but differentiating high-value members, will pay off in the long run. I would recommend ensuring there’s a plan in place to convert potential high-value members, and also a tactic that will help win back lost members. Investing in solid strategies there will maximize the loyalty program’s value for Shoe Carnival and drive stronger results over time.”

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