David’s Bridal has been a trailblazer when it comes to layering incentives into a highly successful loyalty program. Officials at David’s Bridal pride themselves on always putting the customer first and figuring out how to best serve her.
In December 2020, David’s Bridal launched its Diamond loyalty program — the industry’s first-ever loyalty program designed for brides and their weddings. The program currently has more than two million members.
With Diamond, David’s Bridal created a 100% digital, real-time rewards program during a time when customers were shopping and buying online more than ever, making it simple and seamless for them to sign up and start receiving rewards immediately.
We caught up with Kelly Cook, Chief Marketing and IT Officer at David’s Bridal, to learn more about how the company prioritizes strong personal connections and uses incentives to engage its loyal customers throughout the year.
Jim Tierney: How do you leverage incentives throughout the year and tie them to your loyalty program to increase membership and elevate brand advocacy?
Kelly Cook: All of our incentives are tied to our Diamond Loyalty program. Not only does this approach drive membership, but it also streamlines the shopping experience for customers and gives them opportunities for added benefits.
Customers can leverage the promotions and continue to receive additional discounts and exclusive promotions for being a member. Our loyalty program is also completely digital — meaning a user can access their account and activate promotions right from their computer or mobile device. We even make sharing promotions with friends and family easy as well which, ultimately, benefits the member as any purchase someone makes with her loyalty number, she gets the points.
Jim: Can you talk about your high-level approach to the use of incentives to increase customer engagement, brand awareness and loyalty?
Kelly: When you think of a bridal brand, you don’t always think loyalty, right? Many assume our customers are one-time purchasers. That isn’t the case.
Our customers are buying for multiple occasions/events both surrounding the wedding and beyond. And by forming the only crowdsourcing loyalty program in the industry whereby a bride’s friends and family can help her earn points, we increase engagement significantly.
Not only does this approach help the Diamond member earn more points to get her closer to the free honeymoon, but it also brings more customers into the funnel at a lower acquisition rate since they are incentivized to help their Diamond member earn points. This achieves engagement, awareness and loyalty.
We see higher AUR (Average Unit Retail) in members vs. non-members and by including various partners at each level of the loyalty program, we can incentivize members to make additional purchases to hit that next level, with the ultimate prize being a free honeymoon.
Given the immense success of Diamond, we recently expanded the program to target our junior customers with Diamond Prom. The same general concept applies — members receive exclusive discounts and the crowdsourcing element allows schools to register. Students from the school can make purchases to help their school win a free photo booth. This program drives traffic, revenue and brand awareness of our category offerings beyond bridal. It also sets us up for developing a lifetime customer by getting them in the funnel at an early age.
Jim: How do incentives tied to your loyalty program help David’s Bridal be “in the moment” with its customers?
Kelly: Everything we offer in the program helps brides/couples with different elements of their wedding. So, it truly is beyond the gown. All of the partners we engage with offer services that help couples plan their wedding — from men’s suiting to invitations, to photography, gown preservations and the ultimate price – a FREE honeymoon. We vow to walk alongside our customers throughout their entire wedding planning journey and Diamond helps us uphold this commitment.
What’s more, we know brides are very financially contentious. Our pricing model coupled with Diamond loyalty amplifies our messaging around accessibility — all brides deserve their dream wedding without compromise, and we help her achieve that.
Jim: What kinds of incentives do you use and what drives those decisions?
Kelly: Every incentive, every program, every offering is centered around the customer. We are in service to our customers and will continue to innovate and ideate around ways to make her planning and shopping experience seamless. We want her to know we have her back every step of the way. Our customers drive every decision we make to ensure we are in service to them whether it is discounts on our products or deals and promos with other vendors, Diamond is intended to serve her every step of the way.
Jim: What are your over-arching goals for incentives you use?
Kelly: Our incentives are meant to give brides the deal of a lifetime on their once-in-a-lifetime moment. And alleviate the stress of planning a wedding. We are her one-stop shop for all things wedding-relate and if we can reward her for shopping and make her planning easier, that is what we will continue to do.
With Diamond Prom, we want to attract and engage with a new audience and bring her into the funnel earlier in her lifetime shopping experience. If we can incentivize her for prom, we can build the relationship to be her go-to dress retailer for graduation, college events, date nights, girls’ trips and eventually her wedding. We want to own every dress in her closet and reward her for shopping at the same time.
Jim: How much research do you do with customers about incentives they might be attracted to?
Kelly: We are always looking at customer shopping behaviors, abandon rates, competitive analysis, prior incentives’ effectiveness and sales. We also value listening to our customers — we read every one and two-star review, we listen and engage with them on social and are ready to respond and react quickly based on their needs.
Jim: What types of data do you collect from the incentives you used that are tied to your loyalty program?
Kelly: We are always looking at traffic and sales. That informs the performance and effectiveness of the incentive. We also look at AUR (Average Unit Retail) across the loyalty program as well as redemption which can inform the types of partners our brides are excited about.
Jim: What’s the most important ingredient in an incentive used to engage your loyalty program members??
Kelly: Can’t underscore enough — the most important ingredient is serving HER.
When we think about our incentives and rewards, we always look to engage our loyalty members by including our core values, celebrating, personalizing, innovating, designing and kindness. We ask questions like “how does this serve the customer?” and “how do we make her experiences easier or more seamless?”
We are focused on celebrating our members’ magical moments with our limitless personalization options all while giving them endless options and incentives. Our one-shop-stop model allows customers to get all of their wedding needs in one place and rack up points while doing it which could lead to a free honeymoon.
At David’s Bridal, the Customer Always Comes First
David’s Bridal’s incentives are all tied to its Diamond Loyalty program. The incentives are attractive and consumers want to have access to them so they join the loyalty program.
When customers leverage the incentives after becoming a Diamond member, they feel special and part of the David’s Bridal community. Being able to share incentives with friends and family elevates the entire experience.
As Kelly says, David’s Bridal always looks to engage its loyalty members by celebrating, personalizing and innovating through kindness. We ask questions like “how does this serve the customer?”
Want to explore incentives that will amplify your loyalty program? Or looking for help with your loyalty program itself?