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Waterstone’s Loyalty Card scheme

Waterstone’s Loyalty Card scheme

Best practice from EHS Brann Discovery.


Waterstone’s, one of the UK’s leading online and high street booksellers, decided to create a dedicated loyalty scheme with the primary objective of developing a deeper understanding of its customer base.  The programme, once in place, aimed to improve and enhance the dialogue the brand enjoys with its customers over and above that already generated through their online and retail environments.

EHS Brann Discovery and EHS Brann, parts of the EHS Brann Group, were recruited to create the loyalty scheme and associated database to deliver a tool for Waterstone’s to enhance its communication, and better understand its customers. 

Strategy and Implementation

EHS Brann Discovery, designed, built and now manage the ‘Loyalty Cardholder’ database for Waterstone’s.  The recruitment strategy has resulted in over 2.5 million Cardholders registering in just 14 months.

As part of its ongoing management of the database, EHS Brann Discovery:
- Uploads transactions and registrations (including email preferences and opt-ins)
- Uploads Waterstone’s Card registration data from a data capture house (including personal details from customer forms)
- Conducts daily loads (files received hourly) of all till transactions from Matra, Waterstone’s EPOS system
- Has created a Single Customer View, Contact Management application and Response History viewer
- Linked all available data on the Loyalty Cardholder database directly through to Waterstone’s customer care line

EHS Brann Discovery keeps a complete record of all sales transactions and points awarded and redeemed, as well as information on centrally allocated points which are rewarded when customers respond to various marketing campaigns linked to the loyalty scheme.

This data is then analysed and used to measure marketing effectiveness, enhance subsequent campaign activity, and identify responsive and high value customers. 

A programme of automated email broadcasts (tailored by both transaction history and channel) for the new registration ‘welcome phase’ and three month post-registration period has also been implemented, again refined through application of the wealth of knowledge in the database.  In turn positive responses to these emails (through repeat transactions and click-through) are added to the Cardholder database.

The database allows EHS Brann Discovery to provide standard reporting online for the Waterstone’s marketing team, showing key metrics for the ongoing assessment and enhancement of the loyalty scheme.  It is used to set KPIs for the scheme, subsequent success is measured by examining incremental spend derived from the Cardholder customer base.

The database also links to external feeds from other suppliers, such as Cheetahmail, which provide both updates on personal details and further response information.

By building and maintaining a complete picture of all Cardholder customers, EHS Brann Discovery has empowered Waterstone’s to create targeted marketing campaigns and, crucially, measure their success to ensure ongoing improvements to the relevance and success of this activity.

Extract data and reporting is provided for both email and DM campaigns, and for ongoing and ad-hoc marketing activity, based on the type of books and other products customers have purchased and how much they’ve spent, as well as other personal details and preferences.


Analytical insight from the database is also used to create other communication opportunities: 
- EHS Brann Discovery’s investigation of the impact of various ‘extra points’ offers demonstrated the potential for a UK campaign offering Cardholders the chance to earn double points for a limited period over Easter.  This activity resulted in an uplift in sales and recruitment over the two promotion days from those Cardholders who received the offer
- Customers with the least recent transactions are those most likely to respond, supporting re-engagement with lapsed Cardholders

For these reasons the marketing database has been recognised by Waterstone’s as one of its greatest assets for understanding and communicating with customers, and will continue to form a central part of its overall marketing strategy.

Its willingness to invest in its customers, by improving their experience of the Waterstone’s brand and recognising their individual needs, preferences and behaviour, has quickly revealed itself to be a powerful driver to positively impact its bottom line.

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