John Carmody, the managing director of Liquor Legends, has revealed to TheShout that the banner group has achieved like-for-like sales growth across its store network of plus 10 per cent, in thanks to its successful rewards program.
In response to an article published last week by TheShout on the benefits of loyalty programs, Carmody has urged independent liquor retailers to join Liquor Legends and "enjoy the benefits of our rewards program".
According to Carmody, the Liquor Legends reward customer base currently sits at just over 200,000, with the number growing by more than 1000 rewards customers per week.
"Over 36 per cent of our retail sales are from someone with a rewards card now, and in our best performing stores over 70 per cent of sales are to someone with a rewards card. Those rewards customers on average spend $14 more per average sale," he said.
"Having good customers is critical for success for everybody and having a good loyalty program is really challenging. You have to have the right strategy and the technology, and I think it's the responsibility of the banner groups for the independents to deliver that for their customers. Many have not made the investment necessary to deliver that, and therefore it's an incredible challenge to compete in the modern market. It's all about delivering best practice and standards.
"We know that customers are more difficult to get and to keep and to grow. They've got instant access to information into choice and to each other, so we need to deliver tools that are going to be relevant to them and are going to put us into a competitive set in the marketplace. For us, we need to create targeted and relevent interactions for those customers and that's really difficult to do if you haven't invested in the technology upfront."
The technology Carmody refers to, is centralised stock control systems, which is something Liquor Legends has been investing in since 1992.
Carmody told TheShout that the banner group's continued investment in centralised technology has achieved growth of plus 10 per cent across its outlets on a like for like basis, "and that's way above industry averages".
He said: "There's a lot of very old stock control systems and a lot of systems in the independent marketplace where there's no connectivity. There's standalone systems that operate on their own and so therefore are not able to leverage the information that they have available to them. We need to be able to recognise and reward customers in real time across the whole business, in bars, retail, food, accommodation and gaming. Very few people can do that, very few independent operators on their own can do that, but with the support of the right group, you can accomplish all of that.
"Our rewards program does deliver one platform, one database across the whole group. It gives us real time access to consumers' needs and preferences and we provide live access back through to our members, but also to suppliers. I don't think anyone else does that across the industry. And using that data and those analytics, we're able to drive the types of offers, making them more relevant to our customers and meeting their needs better, and that's how you build customer loyalty," he said.
"Because of what we've developed over the last 24 years, we can uniquely identify customers within our system to grow revenue and profitability. We are now working very much on our customer's life cycle, so from recruitment, to our interaction with them, our growth strategies and our retention strategies, and I think that puts us in a really unique position compared to the majority out there. There are a few people in the industry that are working on that, but certainly the chains, they're very, very active in that space so if you're not competing at that level, you're not competing."