#326: South Africa’s Most Used Loyalty Programme, Clicks ClubCard Raises the Loyalty Game - Hosted by Amanda Cromhout

Dr Melanie van Rooy is Head of Marketing at Clicks, South Africa’s leading pharmaceutical retailer.

Its loyalty programme is Clicks ClubCard and is the oldest retail loyalty programme in South Africa.

Not only is it 27 years old, but Clicks ClubCard is for the 4th time, the most used loyalty programme by South Africans, according to the Truth & BrandMapp annual Loyalty Whitepaper.

Dr Melanie talks through Clicks ClubCard’s heritage and how it remains relevant with a focus on simplicity, value, and convenience.

The loyalty KPIs are impressive versus global standards.

This is a solid case study of a loyalty programme delivered exceptionally well and remaining relevant over the test of time.

Hosted by Amanda Cromhout.

Show Notes:

1) Dr Melanie van Rooy

2) Clicks

3) Clicks ClubCard

4) Clicks ClubCard Magazine

5) Feedback Link

Audio Transcript

Paula: Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an Industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m Paula Thomas, the founder and CEO of Let’s Talk Loyalty. Today’s episode is being hosted by my colleague Amanda Cromhout, The Founder of Truth an International Loyalty Consultancy Firm based in Cape Town, South Africa.

Today, I’m also excited to let you know that every episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty now has our new unique feedback link, which lets you add your comments, questions, and feedback. After you listen, simply go to the show notes for this episode on any platform and look for the link called feedback. It’s so easy and you can comment instantly.

Thanks for being part of the Lets Talk Loyalty community, and please do enjoy this episode today hosted by Amanda Cromhout.

Just before we share today’s episode, I want to ask you to sign up to the Lets Talk Loyalty email newsletter. Our email newsletter is by far the best way for us to keep you up to date with all of the latest, incredible loyalty stories we’re sharing each week. It’s also the easiest place for you to find our show notes, with links to everything mentioned in all of the episodes, you can sign up at let’stalkloyalty.com.

Amanda: Today’s interview is extra special as I introduce Dr. Melanie van Rooy, who is Head of Marketing at Clicks. Clicks is South Africa’s biggest pharmaceutical retailer. And it’s loyalty division, which runs the Click’s ClubCard, is within the customer experience department within Melanie’s portfolio. Click’s ClubCard is South Africa’s oldest retail loyalty program now celebrating 27 years old.

It is successfully, once again for the fourth time, the single most used loyalty program in the South African Marketplace, according to the Truth and Brand Mapp Loyalty White Paper 2022. Melanie Generously offers KPI Stats, which set Clicks ClubCard against its global loyalty peers and discusses the role, the key role of key partnerships for customers, Clicks itself, and its partners. Enjoy listening to this very insightful interview with Dr. Melanie.

So Melanie, we are so excited to have you with us today. Thanks so much for joining us.

Melanie: Thanks, Amanda. It’s such a pleasure and such an honor to be your guest today.

Amanda: Well, I think first and foremost, for anybody who doesn’t understand the Clicks Retailer Group, which is the biggest pharmaceutical retailer in South Africa, I’d like to give a quick introduction to the size of the organization from a loyalty point of view, um, from our point of view of Truth and the Brand Mapp loyalty white paper, you are the most used loyalty program in the marketplace with 79% of South Africans who use loyalty programs, use your brand, your loyalty brand. So it’s just phenomenal to see that result again. And it is the fourth year that Clicks ClubCard, which is the program we’re gonna talk about today. Comes out as the most used loyalty brand in the marketplace. So that is an incredible achievement. And the program itself is 27 years old, which is again, another achievement because it’s the oldest retail loyalty program that we know of, uh, in the marketplace. So having you on the show, Melanie, is a real privilege, becasue what a, what a set of accolades already that you are heading up. And as you said to me previously, the Clicks ClubCard sits within the customer experience structure, um, under your marketing leadership. So let’s get going on. What I’m really looking forward to as today’s interview, as you know, for Let’s Talk Loyalty, we always start with the same question, so please share with the audience what is your favorite loyalty program.

Melanie: Thanks, Amanda. Listen, of course, it’s ClubCard by far, you know, and the interesting thing is, this was my favorite even before I had this job, right? I, I just think that that anticipation, the two month anticipation, how much cashback am I getting, et cetera. You know, we’ve pulled it up over here. So honestly, I, I, I love ClubCard, but I must tell you, I’m also very fond of My eBucks, um, loyalty program.

So I use that program quite regularly as well. But ClubCard, by far.

Amanda: And I think I’ll let you get away with naming your own program actually, because you’re quite new to the position and obviously you had that affinity of it being your favorite program before you joined the Clicks group, so Absolutely. Um, so please do share with us.

I think that’s a great, uh, next question I’d like to explore with you so the audience understand what brings you to be Head of Marketing for such a phenomenal brand as Clicks. Tell us about your background.

Melanie: So, so from a loyalty point of view, uh, it’s an interesting thing. I often refer to myself as a, as a bit of a unicorn.

So I never started out in marketing. I started out in the research and data space. I’m actually a, a trained, uh, econometrician. And, uh, my journey with marketing actually started in the Coca-Cola system, but my journey with loyalty, um, started when I joined Makro, uh, as their Marketing Director early in 2013 ish.

Now, um, Makro, as you know, is one of the oldest store cards around, and, and it’s quite unique in the fact that you can’t shop without your Makro card. That intrigued me at the time. For, for your international listeners, this is very similar to a Sam’s Club, but without the paid subscription portion. So when I joined, we just forged a relationship with Standard Bank UCount and they just launched UCount at the time.

So it was so opportune for me to join at that time and really start the loyalty to, to move it from a store card to a loyalty card. So it was quite instrumental when we launched the Makro mCard program, which was more a subscription based loyalty program, was app based. Um, so lots of experience there. And from there on I became Dis-Chem Group Marketing Director, um, obviously with their, uh, benefits club, um, card as well.

And in that time, uh, I was very fortunate to launch the four youth club, um, for them during 2018, 2019. So great learnings from there. And then I landed my dream job with Clicks in April, 2021. and then, uh, the rest is history. So it has been, uh, I’ve been very fortunate in my journey in working with really top class companies and especially in the loyalty space and getting my, you know, my stripes in, in this journey.

Amanda: Yeah, absolutely. And those, for those who don’t know the market as well, um, the two other brands that Melanie mentioned then that she had headed up very significant loyalty propositions for. Also sit within the top 10 most loyalty brands in the South Africa market. So Dis-Chem benefit is number four, and Makro mCard is number seven.

So you’ve got three out of the top 10 under your belt there, Melanie, which is extremely, extremely impressive. So I think, um, let’s get to the story around the Clicks ClubCard. So, as I said earlier, it’s the fourth year that it’s become the most used loyalty card, uh, loyalty program. In South Africa, and as you mentioned to me, it’s 27 years old, which is remarkable.

So please talk us through a history of the Clicks ClubCard program.

Melanie: Absolutely, Amanda. So, I mean, Click’s ClubCard is truly, it’s an iconic loyalty program. Uh, it was launched in 1995 and it’s really been loved by South Africans across the demographic and socioeconomic landscape. And I think it’s important to mention, you know, it is really through young people, old people, rich people, queer people.

Been amazing how this program has just spoken to every generation. It’s also, as you said, the oldest retail loyalty program in South Africa, and we’ve, we’ve got just under 10 million active members. So those are members that shop at least once in the last 12 months. The spend, you know, some interesting stats, the spend of, of Clicks ClubCard, what was often with a loyalty program.

The the challenge is do these people actually use your loyalty card? More than 80% of Click sales, um, actually are recorded against a ClubCard, and the program has paid over 5.5 billion, ran in cash back to our loyal program since inception. And I think the reason for the sustained growth and the longevity of this program is that it’s really a simple and convenient program.

It’s got easy redeemable rewards. It’s very relevant for our customers because it focuses on convenience, on value and on differentiation. What makes this program so successful I think is also the range of affinity partners that we have. We really have partnered with the best. Um, in South Africa. Engen is our fuel partner.

Discovery Vitality is our, is our medical partner, eBucks, our banking partners, Sorbet. ARC, Spec-Savers. Yeah. You know, and many others. And I think, you know, from that we launched the Seniors Club. Right. Launched in 1999 and a very, very successful Clicks Baby Club, which we established in 2011. They really relevant sub-programs of our loyalty program and it’s, it’s adding so much value for customers in those segments.

You know, we offer up to 4% back in cash back, uh, for, for, for them certain days, certain spending habits. And, um, it really has been amazing to see how, especially baby club, we’ve just galvanized moms in this country. So, and it’s forever evolving and forever changing, but that’s sort of a briefest history of where we’ve come from and where we are today.

Amanda: Wow. A brief but exceptionally impactful, like, um, you know, and I think it’s worth pointing out that the 4% cashback you made reference to, I mean, a lot of retailers listening to this around the world will be going, oh my word. That’s such a hit on margin. But I think it’s worth also, I’m a very, um, I’m a very keen and happy user of the Clicks ClubCard, and I, cuz I spend quite a bit with you, I trigger also the 4% because I hit a certain threshold.

So the base earn, if I’m correct, please correct me if I’m incorrect, is 2%. And then if you’re a frequent user and you hit a certain threshold at each month, you can kick up to 4% very easily. And that is such, such a rich earning in a retail environment. So not only is it, you use the word simple. Uh, convenience and an exceptional range of partners, but it’s extremely rich if you use the program well.

So from a personal point of view, it’s lovely to hear what you say from a business approach, but I experience all that. It’s not like I’m just hearing a corporate, um, statement. I’m actually experiencing it as a user of your program. So keep up that incredible work. It’s great to, absolutely. It’s great to hear it from you though, not just how I experience it in the marketplace.

So given your experience, you know, across these different retailers and all the different partners and the work you’re doing now, it Clicks with ClubCard under your portfolio, what do you see are the loyalty trends in the industry?

Melanie: You know, amanda, it’s so interesting. I think for, for for many years there was almost a lull, you know, there were loyalty cards and people had them, but it was sort of a, the, the space was juggling along.

I think Covid has really changed this completely, and specifically I think the industry has taken a very, it’s taken a very interesting turn with checkers joining the loyalty race. They’ve really shook up. Right, and, and, and, you know, everybody’s out of their comfort zones. I think check 60 60 specifically challenge retailers to think very carefully about the way forward, you know, all the taboos that have just been challenged.

Yeah, and I think our, what it has caused is our customers have become very impatient. And they are now expecting innovation and convenience, over all us. Um, and, and, and they are very clear now about what type of rewards they want, right? I’m seeing a consolidation in the loyalty market towards more of a blend between rewards on the one hand and this instant gratification that came through Covid I wanted, and I wanted now.

Yeah. So, so, so what what we then see is, uh, the new kids on the block, such as capita, Highlighting the importance of keeping things simple, right. I think the days where, um, you had to have a manual that came out with your loyalty program, um, explaining exactly how it works, I think those days are over.

Yeah, for sure. I think it is super important that from, from a loyalty point of view, it really is about, I want con. How does this make my life easier? And I wanted to give me value, true value. Um, and, and I think that’s why customers are choosing very carefully which card they pull out of that wallet when it happens.

And, and, and it’s been, to me, it’s been an exciting time in the industry. I think we, the, the, the digital transformation in this space is insane. So what we now can do on apps in terms of loyalty is really, I mean, by the day there are new things coming out. So I think we, we kept on our toes. I think all of us as retailers and certainly the industry as a whole, we’ve reset and you can see it in the excitement.

And at the end of the day, what is beautiful about this, Amanda, it is the, it is the customer that benefits and that’s at the end of the day, you know, we say we customer obsessed well then a loyal customer. Having, being obsessed about a loyal customer is just so much more rewarding.

Amanda: Great. And uh, I just wanna pick up on something you said right at the start of that discussion around it’s a blend of rewards and instant gratification.

And I love that. I mean, in our white paper that we released with Brand Map Truth and Brand Map White Paper, one of the highlights of this year’s results was that we actually discovered from the research that. About a third of customers in this research want to be instantly rewarded. About a third, want to build up points for a longer term reward, and about a third want both.

Yeah. So you can’t do one or the other? Well, you can, but knowing that’s. An equal amount of customers want both. And those customers that want both because of all, of all the things you’ve said, you know, the market has changed and the new BR kids on the block in terms of loyalty programs have brought in these new simple concepts, have educated the consumer.

And if you can offer them both, you’re gonna offer them what they deserve. And I think you use the term customer obsessed. So, and obviously the Clicks Club card does that, you are able to offer them both, which is obviously proving it’s worth in your results. Mm-hmm. So I’m sure it’s not all plain sailing.

What are some of the big problems you’ve had to face, um, leading the team through navigating the team through a very busy and very mature market? Yeah.

Melanie: You know what I, I, I guess for, for me specifically in, you know, both in my macro days and also now in my clicks days, if you, if you lead the pack in terms of a certain, um, , in this case, loyalty.

It’s to stay relevant, right? So it’s, it’s a problem, but it’s not a bad problem to have, but it’s, it’s, you know, you, you, you forever need to innovate, et cetera, et cetera. And I think currently for me, the biggest problem that we face in the loyalty, um, space is this distinction between a simple discount program and a true loyalty program has become, Yeah, because of customers insisting on both, and I, I, you know, I do not always agree that the industry sees them as being one and the same thing, but because for me, a true loyalty program, must change long-term behavior, right?

Whereas programs that are just purely discount driven will influence the short-term and I guess disrupt the market. Um, but the answer lies somewhere in the middle, because you know, the problem is that when you work with your merchants team, they will go, Mel, here’s a deal, here’s a deal, here’s a deal where I’m going, guys, it’s good and fine to have the deals, but how do I ensure longer term loyalty?

Yeah. And then it is about the type of partners that you choose, the type of initiatives that you have and how to stay relevant. So I guess that is also, but it’s part of this big reset of the industry, and for the customer, you know, it’s not as if you can communicate, listen, we are a true loyalty, long-term loyalty program.

You have to prove it through what you do and the initiatives that you have. And I guess that is where the industry finds itself at the moment, is at this crossroads. Because a lot of the cards that you get, uh, today are, are really just discount cards. Take your cards, swipe it, get discount, move on, but does not necessarily create true loyalty, and I think for loyalty marketers, it is important that you sustain that loyalty over a longer term period.

Amanda: definitely. And I mean, I think you’re, you touched on a really big point. Again, retailers around the world will, either this will resonate with them or they are already facing this around, you know, the merchants will have.

Merchandise they want you to push cuz it’s important for them, but you’ve always gotta keep at the back of your mind the long term impact or the longer term customer-centric approach. I remember in my days working at Woolworths, South Africa, we had a buyer who’d overbought the buy on. This is gonna make people laugh, maybe on Mediterranean.

Sweet Jellies, , and they came to us and said, please, can you send out an SMS to the entire loyalty base to push 5% or 10% off Mediterranean sweet jellies? And I was like, I’m really sorry, but I can’t do that. Like you, you know, deal with it over by. So you know, at the end of the day, some of those great offers can come in from merchant and.

Partners within your business. Of course they can, but if they’re better planned, then you’re gonna achieve what’s right for the customer rather than what’s right for the product division. But that’s a, that’s a change management process and often an area of conflicts in, in so many programs or so many businesses.

I mean, if you could take out one lesson, you’ve only been at Club Card a short time, um, I mean, you obviously, as you say, arrived in the middle of Covid. So what would you say is the biggest lesson you’ve learned? In the work you’ve been doing with Club Card, .

Melanie: You know what Amanda? The biggest lesson that I’ve learned, and it’s a lesson that one should never stop learning, is the importance of the information that you gather from your activities in your loyalty program.

Because ultimately, you know, that is what we do. We gather information about our loyal members and how easily that information can be taken for granted. And why I’m saying that is in, in April last year when I started, just about two months after I started, we. Our entire email contactability list from our clap guard base due to, oh wow, this spam incident.

And all of a sudden, you know, gone are your millions of male addresses. And we had to think very carefully about how are we now gonna communicate with our loyal members while this was being cleared up. And you know, in the end, the incident was such a blessing in disguise because it made us rethink our entire communication model 360.

And think out of the box because it’s super important to respect the information that your loyalty member entrusts you with. To your point, don’t send me Mediterranean jellies if that’s not what I’m interested in. You know, one of the examples I can give is we’ve probably haled the number of weekly emails.

That we sent after that, and I’m seeing a much lower unsubscribed rate, which means we are now talking to these members about things that matter. We are sending them deals that they want. So we are not doing personalization for the sake of personalization. You know, I’ve always also learned that. It’s innovation and not gimmicks that your members are expecting from you.

You know, it’s, it’s so tempting to be lured into all sorts of sexy campaigns that can shout and win awards, but in the end, it’s really the lifetime value of your custom that really, really counts. And they need to depend on us, you know, like they’ve done for the last 27 years. So, to me, the lesson is the, the information that you get from your loyalty program.

do not ever take it for granted because it is, it is just so important.

Amanda: That’s great. Insights about like, obviously everyone terms activity around personalization. It’s the buzzword everyone refers to. But as you say, you’ve halved your number of emails cuz now you send relevant messaging only, but you’re actually seeing a lower unsubscribed rate.

So I think that’s a super important lesson. Excuse me for many, um, marketers to understand cuz so many brands still are sending me one a day, especially with the buildup to the, you know, different parts of the retail calendar. Um, and I have noticed, actually I get less from club card now, but it doesn’t stop.

Frequenting the store as much. So, um, yeah, well done. And thank you for sharing the stat around, um, unsubscribed rates coming down. So I think within the Clicks business, you know, you are a classically successful retailer for those. I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, you know, the British audience to Let’s talk loyalty.

A good reference point would be, Boots in the UK, I think is, you know, a comparable type of organization. I know it’s not exactly the same, um, but what’s, you know, how important is the actual club card experience as you deliver it to your consumers within clicks? If you think about the internal running of the business, how easy is it for you to get investment if you need it, and that kind of approach.

Melanie: Absolutely. And, and, yeah, you know, I’m very. Uh, when it comes to this, uh, Amanda, truly because customer loyalty, right? And hes club got, because I mean club got is the, is the engine of, of customer loyalty is one of the five top strategic priorities of clicks. And I can tell you it receives attention at the highest level in every review that we have at an exec level, at every planning session.

It’s about clapboard. We, you know, we are super proud of our heritage and. Everybody in this building will protect it with all the passion and rigor of the clicker culture. And then, and here’s the reason, you know, I feel the four Ps of marketing alone, it, it just doesn’t cut it anymore, right? In this industrial age of information at your fingertips, I mean, The four piece.

I’m not saying they become irrelevant, but it’s not a distinguishing factor anymore. The only real thing that you can compete on today is customer experience. And Clubcard forms an integral part of customer experience because through Clubcard we know how, who our customers are, what their pain points are, what they wanna speak about, what they wanna buy, how price sensitive they are, et cetera, et cetera.

So it’s literally from our planning team to our merchant teams every. Needs to understand what club water. So it’s very front of, you know, front of mind. And the, the personalization program that we are running, which is, I mean, it’s aimed obviously to, to give the loyal customer the best possible experience throughout the entire omnichannel.

It requires investment and this company has certainly not been shy to invest. Obviously, you know, we go through the rigor of, of properly investigating why we wanna do what we wanna do. If we wanna put in a new, um, program, for instance, we are looking at, at, at two very exciting new initiatives in the club odd space.

I need to go through the rigor of business cases, et cetera to make sure that it also pays back to the business. But I’ll tell you this much, it forms a hot and center of the click strategy because if we don’t listen to our customers, at the end of the day, they vote with their wallets. Yeah. So customer is truly.

Amanda: Incredible. I love listening to you. I really, um, you know, the fact you said one of the top five strategic imperatives at the board. Uh, when I hear that, I immediately know, you know, it’s, it’s heart and soul of the brands of clicks, not just club cards. So, um, you did share with us at the in, as we introduced, Um, you quickly introduced Club Club card to the audience.

You did share a couple of statistics, like it represents 80% of turnover and so forth. Um, I’m gonna be really cheeky here and push you a little bit over what KPIs do you measure and which ones can you, can you share, and how are they comparable in the industry?

Melanie: Absolutely. Absolutely. So, so the, the one beautiful thing about clicks is on a Monday, it is literally scorecard day, right?

So on a Monday, um, we look at club card KPIs from every single angle, right? So obviously the normal ones being membership. So we are very acutely aware of membership, of churn, um, of, of, and those that are not registered because we often find in our stores cards are handed out, but people are not, um, registered.

So we look at that and our churn rate, I must tell you is, is in the region of 1%, which is very low for a program. This. Uh, but we also look at baby club, um, because obviously once you are three years old, you’re not a member of baby club anymore. So we look at what comes in at the top, what goes out at the bottom seniors club.

And then very importantly, we measure the engagement and interaction with our partner programs, specifically, you know, around engine discovery and f and b because we spend quite a bit of money, um, with these three partners. Now, just to give you one interesting sta, uh, in the last financial year, 50% of the non, non-commercial liters that were pumped at an engine petrol station was swiped on a club card.

I mean, that is unbelievably high participation. So the, the participation rate of our loyalty members in terms of sales, obviously we watched that 80% very closely. Does it increase, how much does it increase their engagement across the omni? Uh, we will measure how many of them are on our app, how many are logged onto the website, how many of them interacted Because I’ll tell you that our loyalty members, for instance, that interact with us via the app, they spend 3.7 times more than a normal customer.

You know, so we, we look at those stats. We also measure the usage of their cash back on a weekly basis to make sure that they unlock the value of their rewards. Yeah. Um, and if we see there’s a trend that, because we want to encourage Ments to use that, uh, we will send out campaigns. We also measure their uptake and behavior, um, in terms of the my club card and club card only.

Right, because that’s, uh, specific to the program to ensure that we fine tune and hone these deals accordingly. I’ll tell you, when we put out club card deals, I continue, the participation rate is almost a hundred percent. Um, and the people absolutely love those club card deals. It’s difficult to measure against other loyalty programs, um, because the level of success, for instance, for a farmer retailer versus a food retailer versus agro telco, it’ll differ from industry to industry.

So we use, um, reports like yourself to measure ourselves, you see, because at the end of the day, what do I want? I want my customers to vote for me, right? I don’t want my club card in your wallet, but you’re not actually using it. And, and those are more or less the KPIs that we look at. So it’s quite in depth.

Um, and as I say, we look at it on a monthly basis, um, uh, which is great because it keeps that top of mind focused and we can very easily change course if we see a trend starting to happen. Um, yeah. Which helps us a lot. Um, Yeah. So that’s, that’s more or less, and I hope that answered your

Amanda: question. No, that’s so generous.

Your information, you’ve shared, I mean, your churn rate at 1%, how do you define churn? Actually, just so I can, so the listeners can understand that.

Melanie: So, so churn is the percentage of members that have shopped in the previous 12 months that have not shopped in the last 12 months. So literal every month.

It’s a moving average. Yeah. And the drop off of that. Yeah.

Amanda: Okay. Perfect. No, that’s great. I. I mean, we often talk about 12 months inactivity as inactive, but it’s good to see Yeah. That you, that that’s how you do it. Mm-hmm. , the other one that stood out for me was the customers using app are 3.7 times more valuable to you than a non app using customer.

Is that right? Did I get

Melanie: that right? Unbelievable. I, I must tell you, once we have been digitally engaged on the app, Such a valuable customer. It, it, it truly is a, you know, and, and we, we revamping our app for that exact reason because this is where our really valuable customers are. And once you get them on that app, and that’s why I say the importance of technology in the loyalty space must never be underestimated.

Yo, that’s

Amanda: a great, great start for customer, you know, for brands considering whether they want to invest in a, in app for the brand or for the loyalty brand. And then as you said, when you release club card only pricing deals, you’re seeing almost a hundred percent engagement. That’s absolutely crazy.

Melanie: Yeah.

It’s actually the most visited after the landing page on the app. Uh, the op it is the most visited page on our app is the Mic Club. God deals . Wow. People love

Amanda: it. Thank you for sharing those. Um, we don’t always get such transparency and such generosity of um, statistics, so thank you. Cuz that’s often the killer thing people want to learn from these podcasts.

So, um, so yeah, I mean you’ve spoken very passionately around how the business is really behind Club Card and as you said you have, uh, club Cards, scorecard Mondays and um, but how do you go about making sure you continuously communicate all the. Good soundbites like you just shared with us internally within the, within your business to really keep everybody down to store level engaged in the great work that you’re doing.

Melanie: You know, Amanda, because it’s so, such a high, um, strategic, uh, priority for clicks, um, it’s top of mind at every level of the business, right? So, From the training about cashiers and the store assistance, I’ve got a person in my marketing that is her sole job, right? She works with the stores, uh, so that they understand the program, the changes, the benefits, et cetera, um, to the marketing team that comes up with the exciting marketing and communication campaigns.

To the IT team that has to make sure that all our numbers pull through and that our members are indeed rewarded. You know, they work literally every two months. They work right through the night to make sure that, uh, the rewards are loaded up to the c e o of clicks at the chairman of the board. So this communication, Right through the results of our program, um, are published every month in what we call our Clicks Brand Monitor.

It’s an internal document and it’s discussed in depth at all monthly business reviews. So this allows our business to remain very focused, um, because as I said, clicks has this mantra that we put the customer first in everything we do at Club Court is truly at the heart. So, so, you know, my advice to other loyalty program managers, it’s very easy to make this a marketing tool right, to, uh, to market it out to the customer.

If it’s not at the heart of your strategy and you’re not taking the entire organization with you, if the guy that has to do the baby club number does not understand how important it is, and, and you are a customer facing business, you’re just simply on the. Track you should be tracking and discussing your loyalty stats at the highest level as often as possible.

And, and as I said, importantly, so to teach people not to, um, abuse the information that you receive from your customers. So for, so I think for, for us, it literally is, you know, when we run a campaign in stores, for instance, in our head, We’ll have that same campaign in the foyer. We’ll have it in the lift.

We’ll send out an internal communication. We’ve got our club card magazine as part of our e-signatures, you know, so that people, yeah, because at the end of the day, we’ve got 15,000 brand ambassadors that we can use. And if I excite them about club card, just imagine how they excite our.

Amanda: Yep. Exciting for, I mean, it’s such a strong program and e Exactly.

If you can communicate it well, then everyone will be excited. Cause it’s adding so much value to customers, not only the business.

Melanie: I wanna tell you one quick one. Uh, this is a, it is a interesting one. So even, uh, I’ll tell you, one of our board members, our executive board members that resigned from the board recently, I mean, if she contacts me and says, Mel, my husband’s club card is not working, can you help?

Then you know, you know you’re on the right track. If people in those senior positions are still very worried that they clap God points on showing or they clap, God is not pulling through, then you know you’re on the

Amanda: right track. Yeah. Cuz it matters to them. They want, they want the points. That’s lovely.

And, uh, you are obviously leading a team. Your role is so much broader than just Club Card as your role of Head of Loyal, uh, head of marketing. But in terms of your loyalty learnings for yourself to be able to continue see, drive this innovation for. Club card, where do you personally go to to get that innovation and that thinking?

Melanie: So, uh, to your point with our relationship with Boots, so we are very similar to Boots. Our head of trade is also part of Boots. So, you know, I always believe that. That you need to keep abreast of trends, both, you know, here and, and internationally. Yeah, so we reach out to many organizations abroad. We learn from them, but my team specifically makes sure that we keep abreast of these trends.

We scour, you know, financial releases of other companies, for instance South Africa, because often you find quite valuable information about their programs. They, um, we also all follow the marketing. I mean, we are all boots members. All Kruger members, we all, you know, to make sure that we see. And then organizations like yourself, Amanda, which honestly, you know, provides us with so much detail and research about the industry.

And then we’ve got our own research partners that we work very closely from that often do sense checking research with our customers, um, from a loyalty perspective so that we regularly test the views of our customers and our trends. I think. The, the, the, the most important thing here is not to remain too inwardly focused because, you know, sometimes a very loyal base like ours will also tell you what you want to know, and then you sort of start inbreeding.

So it’s super important , but we also, you know, use these sensing studies where we actually look at people that do not have a club card and tell me why do you not have a club card? And sometimes it’s not nice to. So really it’s, it’s that understanding and then looking at, at national and international trends and making sure that we are leading the pack as well.

Amanda: Oh, it’s fantastic. I love, I, I love what you’ve said and I, I, I did think there was a formal connection somewhere with Boots. Cause um, I know that Boots Advantage program has been covered on Let’s Talk loyalty earlier in an interview with Paula. So, um, it’d be great to compare both these interviews, . Yeah.

Um, so finally, um, any new ideas or innovations that you are particularly proud of or new innovations that are coming that you can share with the Let’s Talk loyalty audience. Absolutely.

Melanie: So, so, so I will tell you the one thing that I’m most proud of at the moment, Amanda, is, is we are really proud of our personalization efforts.

Uh, we are working very closely with our Salesforce partners, um, to refine these capabilities even more. And I was so fortunate to attend the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco recently, and I, I’ll tell you this, that tick, the tick that is now available to drive super. personalization and hyper-personalization in the loyalty space.

I mean it. Blows my mind. So that’s the one thing, our personalization efforts, we seeing tremendous results. Um, specifically in the journeys we’ve got, we’ve got about, we now have about, let me quickly say where we, where we’ve got about 34 journeys active at the moment. We’ve got another. 30 planned for the next two, three months and we can see the results.

So it is that to me is we quite excited about. We are also super proud of the work we are doing in the baby loyalty space. Yeah. And I’ll tell you the interaction that we are having with our loyal mom, dad, parent community. Is growing by the day. And we can see that impact on sales because you know, at the end of the day, we are also not a charity organization.

We also have to make money. So to see happy customers ha happy, loyal members, translating into happy customers is great. And then lastly, what I’m really excited about is we reinventing our entire app, right? And I so wish I could lay the cat out of the bag for you, but I can tell you this, I can tell you this.

It is all based on what I now call super convenience for our loyal customers. It’s not gimmicky. It truly is super convenience and I think our customers are gonna love it. We are also adding two clubs, uh, to our club card, which will be launched, uh, in the very near future. So y’all, there’s lots happening.

I, I’ve said you, one thing I think when my staffs see me coming, they go, oh hell, what, what does Mel come up with next? . But, um, you know, if, if I don’t push that agenda on, I always say in, in clicks, I am the custodian of the customer, right? I need to be the one that is the voice of the customer and that is my job.

Or when people ask me what job you do, I say, I’m a customer custodian, because that is

Amanda: my. Fantastic. Oh wow. I can’t wait to know what the new clubs are because I mean, just listening to you about, obviously it makes sense, you’ve got a baby club and a senior’s club. So, um, very much looking forward to hearing about those.

So thanks, uh, Mel, I’ve, I’ve certainly taken so much out of this fantastic conversation. So before we close, um, Today’s discussion. Is there anything else you’d like to add or discuss with us,

Melanie: Amanda? No, but what I want to say to you from, from the industry point of view is, uh, that we are so super grateful for the work that you guys do to assist us on this road and.

You know, even for bringing us together, I take the truth, uh, function that we had recently. You know, I’ve picked up so many contacts there and we are, we are in a space now where we are talking to other industries to understand the joint customers that we have. So please continue with this work, . Um, it is creating such great awareness around that.

And certainly, I’ll tell you this much, it helps me in the boardroom to get those big CapEx mount signed. Because, because of the importance of the work that you guys do. So a big thank you from from my side for that

Amanda: as well. Oh, thank you. Your words are extremely, um, appreciated and well received. But I think as I often hear Paula say when she does her interviews, it’s such a privilege to have a company and have a, have a discussion with professionals all over the world about something we all love, which is loyalty, you know, so the work that truth does for the South African market.

Is, doesn’t seem like work because it’s something we love doing. You know, everyone’s happy to do it, so it’s great as well. So thank you for your time and your generosity of words and generosity of insights you’ve shared with the audience. It’s been absolutely fantastic. So from everyone around the world, Melanie, thank you very much.

Melanie: Thank you so much, Amanda, keep well.

Paula: This show is sponsored by The Loyalty People. A global strategic consultancy with a laser focus on loyalty, CRM and customer engagement. The loyalty people work with clients in lots of different ways, whether it’s the strategic design of your loyalty program or a full service, including loyalty project execution. And they can also advise you on choosing the right technology and service partners.

On their website, The Loyalty People also runs a free global community for loyalty practitioners, and they also publish. Their own loyalty expert insights. So for more information and to subscribe, check out the loyalty people.global.

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