Driving customer engagement in a traditional retail environment is a challenge facing retailers of all sizes, with a sustained push from customers to have personalized experiences across an omnichannel journey. A growing customer preference for online and other digital interactions has accelerated the challenge.
One of the largest independent hardware store chains in the US, Aubuchon Hardware, has been focused on delivering omnichannel personalization for some time. In late 2018, Aubuchon selected Redpoint Global to implement a robust customer engagement platform to drive innovation and growth. Aubuchon initially selected Redpoint to help modernize and scale its marketing efforts, as the independent chain looked to offer a differentiated, more personalized customer experience than big box stores – engaging with customers on a local, personal level. The company utilizes Redpoint’s rgOne solution to deliver a single customer view of data, driving expanded digital engagement and customer loyalty with an increasingly personalized customer experience.
Founded by William E Aubuchon in 1908, Aubuchon Hardware is a fourth-generation family-owned chain of independent hardware stores. With more than 100 stores in New England and Upstate NY, the company is focused on not only sustaining, but modernizing the local hardware store shopping experience by providing the exact items local customers need, at affordable prices, with the convenient shopping options and friendly, knowledgeable service customers expect.
Single Point of Control
The old way of doing marketing has also been discarded. Aubuchon has virtually abandoned traditional item-priced marketing (such as flyers) and has discovered that automated campaigns tend to have significantly higher response rates than traditional marketing campaigns. A small player in a competitive marketplace, technology is key to building scale advantage.
Redpoint aggregates all customer data in a way that makes it available for Aubuchon’s advanced marketing purposes. The customer record enables deep insights and becomes actionable to improve customer relationships, understand attribution of sales and drive expanded revenue growth. Today, Aubuchon can meet customers’ e-commerce needs, improve its loyalty program, and offer a more personalized buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) experience. COVID-19 actually brought tremendous growth to the hardware industry in 2020 with a significant uptick in home improvement projects, and Aubuchon outpaced the industry average.
“Having all customer data available to us in one place, with the confidence that it is accurate, timely and comprehensive, has been the biggest asset of partnering with Redpoint,” said Will Aubuchon, CEO of W.E. Aubuchon Co. Inc. “Throughout the pandemic, we have been able to communicate with customers quickly and effectively about our curbside pickup service but also customize communications for their specific needs at a scale not possible before. With our data accessible from one place, we could easily react to any situation that evolved. We recognize that we’ve only just scratched the surface of what we can do with Redpoint and I’m excited about the additional growth we can drive — maintaining our local community feel, while becoming the modern marketing organization consumers expect.”
Loyalty Drives Growth
“It’s always easier to sell to an existing customer,” contends Aubuchon. “In a competitive marketplace we understand that creating real and lasting relationships with customers is more important to our long-term growth than just pushing to get new people through the doors. With Redpoint helping us gain control of customer data, we know better than ever before what people want and need and with intelligent orchestration capabilities of the platform, we can personalize offers and information at scale in a way never possible before.”
Aubuchon’s 15-year-old loyalty program has been a key area of engagement — driving seven of every 10 transactions. With Redpoint, Aubuchon can take its loyalty program to the next level, capitalizing on this opportunity with more personalized customer communications that were previously not possible. The retailer now has a simplified way to review, analyze, and develop marketing programs to grow share of wallet and encourage loyalty to the brand. As a result, the average order size has grown in conjunction with the frequency of in-store visits. It was found that members who have signed up over the last 12 months and utilized BOPIS capabilities spend an average of 68 percent more than those who have not used online shopping.
“Consumers today expect convenient, personalized, and real-time interactions with the brands and retailers they engage with,” continued Aubuchon. “Redpoint is helping us bring scale around something that is complex. Our vision is ’local matters more.’ People want local stores to succeed, but not at the expense of giving up modern experiences as a consumer. We want the trusted feel of a local store with the same high-tech omnichannel capabilities that have quickly become the norm. That’s where we’re going as a company, building that modern operating system to meet modern-day expectations, and Redpoint is critical to that.”
Looking Toward the Future
Deploying Redpoint’s rgOne solution in a cloud deployment model supports Aubuchon’s vision of building a modern operating system for local hardware stores. W.E. Aubuchon Co. Inc. is the parent company for Aubuchon Hardware, Lyndonville Hardware, and others. As the retailer looks to expand, hosting applications in the cloud is pivotal to ensure a future-proof strategy that enables scale and minimizes complexity. Redpoint plays an instrumental role in Aubuchon’s expansion and growth for more sophisticated replenishment campaigns, machine learning modeling, and more.
The company takes a holistic view of marketing, looking at the lifecycle of the customer and finding ways to connect and personalize for each customer (starting with loyalty members). Based on the data in the system, Aubuchon can push consumers the appropriate information based on any number of factors (time of year, sales, or specific customer preferences). Replenishment campaigns alone will have a tremendous ability to grow a customer’s lifetime customer value – possible with any type of product with a periodic reordering cadence.
“There is simply so much we can do with Redpoint, but I view this partnership to just be in the early stages,” finishes Aubuchon. “We could leverage machine learning to expedite insights, deepen personalization capabilities with third-party data and a variety of other marketing campaigns. Having our data in order is the first and most significant step. As we expand with more brands and drive new campaigns in the next year, we will be sure to see added growth as a result. There is so much opportunity for us, and Redpoint is absolutely critical for this growth, now and in the coming months and years ahead.”