Sears Calls for Uber
Sears is looking to make its rewards program more enticing to shoppers by partnering with Uber Technologies. The Shop Your Way loyalty program is the lifeblood of the Sears brand, accounting for 75 percent of the retailer’s sales through the first half of 2016. Sears hopes this new partnership with Uber will contribute to overall growth.
Uber riders who link their account to the Sears’ loyalty program will receive $2 in points for every trip they take with the app-based transportation service. New Uber drivers can also cash in on some rewards through Shop Your Way by getting up to $1,000 in points when signing up. The program, called Rider Rewards, is currently available in Chicago and New York City, and will be rolled out nationally soon.
While Sears hasn't reported a profit in five years, the Shop Your Way program is a big focus for its revival strategy.
“We're looking at more and more ways where we can reach out to top-tier brands and find more opportunities where our members can earn points,” says Leena Munjal, senior vice president of customer experience and integrated retail at Sears.
Sears hasn't yet released the exact membership count for its Shop Your Way loyalty program, but said it's “tens of millions.” Sears has also partnered with Starbucks, Groupon, 1-800-Flowers.com and others to build out incentives for consumers to sign up for the Shop Your Way program.
Market Track recently reviewed its creative advertising data to find other examples of unique retail partnerships. In 2015, Starbucks teamed up with Spotify, offering a variety of perks for customers and employees alike. Spotify users could earn My Starbucks reward points by listening on the app, and Starbucks employees all received free subscriptions to Spotify Premium.
Meanwhile, Target took a philanthropic approach by working with UNICEF for its Kid Power partnership. The initiative utilized wearable devices that assigned fitness missions for kids to “unlock” food packets, which UNICEF delivers to malnourished children globally. The product reached a projected audience of 70,000, all while helping and promoting the two brands.
One of the more memorable brand partnerships from last year came when CoverGirl teamed up with Lucasfilm leading up to the theater release of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." The cosmetic brand released a limited-edition makeup set, which included two product lines that capture the Dark Side and the Light Side, showing that Star Wars can appeal to both sexes. CoverGirl ran Star Wars-themed ads in its December 2015 circulars for both CVS and Rite Aid, asking potential shoppers “Light Side or Dark Side: Which side are you on?” The Star Wars’ images and messages were also accompanied with buy one, get one 50 percent off promotions as well as opportunities to earn reward points when shoppers purchased $15 worth of the CoverGirl products.
We reviewed the circular ad count within the drug store channel to find a possible link between the Star Wars release and the volume of CoverGirl ads. Among the three retailers we measured, CVS and Rite Aid both showed an increase in CoverGirl circular ads in the time leading up to the premier of "The Force Awakens" (Dec., 18 2015). Walgreens, however, didn't promote the CoverGirl-Lucasfilm partnership in its circulars, and we can see that its count of CoverGirl circular ads shows a drop during that same period.
All the tactics we’ve reviewed show how advertisers are differentiating their value from the competition by partnering with well-known brands from across different industries. These examples illustrate the variety of ways brands can create value, influence shopper preference and, ultimately, their purchase decisions.
Dan Muller is a marketing specialist at Market Track, a provider of market intelligence solutions based on comprehensive analysis of the advertising, promotional and e-commerce landscape.