Road Runner Sports energizes first-time buyers with behavioral targeting

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Since founding Road Runner Sports in 1983, CEO Michael Gotfredson, fondly referred to as "Chief Runner," has made the most of every opportunity to interact with his customers about their shared passion for running and fitness. First-time buyers are responding especially well to the special attention they are given in e-mail.

As opposed to receiving a stream of promotional e-mail messages already in progress, Road Runner Sports' new customers are placed into a permission-based First-Time Buyer (FTB) program.

They are addressed personally by the Chief Runner and educated on all that the multichannel fitness store has to offer, including shopping resources and expert advice to help them stay active and injury-free.

To implement the FTB program, Road Runner Sports relies on e-mail service provider e-Dialog to provide the strategy, analysis, technology and tools to manage the program based on recency and relevancy.

Upon making an initial purchase and signing up for the e-mail newsletter, first-time buyers are sent a sequenced stream of messages. The automated series begins with a welcome message that promotes the brand, educates consumers on the non-promotional benefits of RRS, and encourages additional purchases.

Customers receive one of two versions of the FTB e-mail sequence based on whether or not they are members of RRS' loyalty program, the Run America Club. Both versions are similar in nature. However, appropriate content is published dynamically based on the user's affiliation to the club.

Subsequent messages in the FTB stream include health news and information on injury prevention and shoe rotation, as well as a foot-sizing chart, shoe fit tips, expert gear reviews, running tips and fitness advice. What's more, they provide the opportunity to extend the customer-retailer dialog via voice and online channels.

FTB equals ROI

Using additional tactics such as customization, catchy subject lines, animated images and enhanced creative, the FTB program has generated remarkable results when compared to standard promotional campaigns:

Nearly 100 percent increase in open rates;

200 to 300 percent increase in click rates;

Nearly four times the revenue per message delivered;

Quicker second purchase at a very high average order value.

RRS recognizes that the foundation of a solid one-to-one customer relationship lies at the beginning of the customer interaction. The FTB program provides a platform to harness that opportunity by introducing and educating the consumer, building the brand and increasing loyalty.

By capitalizing on both recency of purchase and Road Runner Sports' brand and customer service philosophy, long-term customer relationships are being built to provide value for both the runner and for Road Runner Sports.

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