Vans is trying to put a cool spin on the standard shopper loyalty program.
The VF Corp.-owned brand rolled out “Vans Family” in the U.S., its first rewards program complete with a corresponding mobile app, in an effort to boost engagement with a generally young fan base.
Doug Palladini, global brand president of Vans, said the program will benefit shoppers “from newcomers to loyalists” and offer them “unexpected experiences tailored to their personal interests.”
“We are creating authentic connections with people who like Vans, deepening our relationships with them, and creating new pathways to interact in relevant ways,” Palladini added.
Along with access to “member-only experiences,” like skate events and giveaways, the program will offer “exclusive” prints and “insider info,” like upcoming products, as well as the typical purchase points that can be redeemed for rewards. The program will presumably also give VF a good amount of data on a customer base that mainly shops Vans through a large network of retailers.
But shopping isn’t the only way to earn points. Engagement with the program can earn them as well, showing that brands like Vans are maybe just as eager for insights into their shoppers and fans as they are for sales.
For example, Vans is offering 10 points for user videos inspired by sponsored skater Chima Ferguson and 20 points to those who divulge their age when they got their first pair of Vans.
Vans said that the loyalty program is designed to be “interactive and intuitive” and target members with “what they like to do.”
And the brand already has millions of fans, at least some of which will surely take up the program. After enjoying a resurgence of popularity in recent years among the fashion-and street style-conscious, Vans has nearly 10.5 million Instagram followers on its main handle. Product-only photos regularly generate well over 100,000 likes and hundreds of comments, ranging from trolls to tips of where to find limited editions, and the brand often jumps into the fray.
Vans is by far the most popular on social media out of VF’s other brands, which include The North Face and now Dickies, through a recent $820 million acquisition of its parent company. Dickies is another brand that’s experiencing a cool-kid revival, led by skate and street culture, but there is a lot of customer crossover with all three brands.
VF acquired Vans in 2004 with a deal valued at just under $400 million. The brand has since become a company star and sales, which VF does not break out by brand, grew 19 percent last year. VF’s chief executive Steve Rendle said earlier this month that one of the goals this year is “protecting and enabling the explosive growth in Vans.”
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