Update: Globetrotter's New Club Card


 

Only recently an e-mail from the leading German outdoor retailer fluttered into our mailbox stating the following:

"Dear Globetrotter,

we are writing to you today as some specific details have changed and because this is the e-mail address you gave when registering for the Globetrotter Club Membership.”

Email

Finally time had come: After redrafting the sustainable business strategy also the long-lasting loyalty program around the “Globetrotter Card” is now undergoing a comprehensive update (or shall we say: an half-baked rejuvenation treatment?)

According to Globetrotter's COO Johannes Jurecka this reinvention is an integral part of the company's new business alignment paying particular attention to on-the-spot encounters and events as well as to special service offers.

Numerous and substantial speech-, language-, visual- and content-related changes shall therefore serve as a sign of the company's determination "to from now on attach a higher priority to the sense of community of the outdoor community."

Earlier in the year within our white paper "This is how customer loyalty works" we devoted ourselves intensively to the loyalty program of the outdoor retailer. After reading the above cited statement we wanted to dive deeper into Globetrotter's outdoor-community-centered approach and understand more precisely which aspects had actually undergone a substantial change and if its a step further towards emotional bond and loyalty. Is Globetrotter able to catch up with other leading sports and outdoor brands in terms of customer loyalty, will things remain the same or is the retailer even going backwards instead of making progress? To find reliable answers to these and other questions we made a thorough checkup of the realignment of the program:

What does the Globetrotter Club Card do?

According to Globetrotter's own statement the program basically aims at inviting the customer to " [...] explore and take advantage of the possibilities our community offers". The brand wants to “[...] share memorable experiences with their customers [...], get them ready for the next adventure” and "[...] discover together new horizons [..]" [Club Card]. Regarding the communication with a new name and the introduction of a stage model by displaying a mountain graphic, it can be easily seen that the brand is trying to embark on an emotional language strategy. This bears a direct link to the outdoor world and the concept of "reaching the peak" is visualized. The designation as a "club" reflects the company's objective to give priority to the community concept. However, the emotional language strategy has not yet reached its full potential. Also, the presentation of the mountain-shaped stage model is not an ideal fit for the levels' designations (Bronze, Silver, Gold). At these points the emotional impact of language as integral part of a communication concept has still room for further improvement.

Not everyone benefits from the new service offering

A closer look at the range of services, personalization and user-friendliness reveals that the program currently has barely been reworked. Surprisingly, the extension of the right of return to now 30 days is positively highlighted - although a 100-day return policy previously applied to all levels. Also, Globetrotter cancelled the Christmas surprise for Gold members. On the positive side the regular newsletters contain information on the current GlobePoint status providing a direct incentive to further collect points. Finally, the support of the DAV climate-protection program with the DAV club card underlines the company's commitment to sustainability and is therefore worth to be highlighted.

Meanwhile, the true novelty is the revision of the point-collecting mechanism and the superordinate stage model. Differently from the previous model where long-standing costumers were rewarded with the promotion to the next highest level, now the program's focus has shifted to the acquisition of new customers.

In the past, costumers could achieve the Silver or Gold level only if they had total sales of 3.000 or 5.000 Euros respectively if they generated sales during the last three or five consecutive years. This means: the longer you were customer, the higher your status rose automatically and the more collected GlobePoints per purchase you were granted. After the recent update, the status is re-calculated each year and stands or falls with the amount of GlobePoints you collected the previous year, irrespective of how long your program memberships has already been lasting. For example, if a Bronze costumer wants to reach the Silver status, he or she has to collect 2000 GlobePoints (i.e. spend 667 Euros). But: If he or she spends less money in the subsequent year, he or she will be downgraded again.

In our opinion, this a huge step the brand takes. Even if this all aims at speeding up the retention and loyalty of new and/or occasional customers, it inevitably leads to a degradation of long lasting loyal customers. Understandably enough, this step has led to considerable irritations of many long-term and loyal customers and to numerous complaints.

Such a model is a double-edged sword: On the one hand it appeals to new and occasional customers and motivates them to spend their money for Globetrotter products. On the other hand, customers who until now were loyal to the brand will feel offended.

Our Conclusion

Based on our analysis it´s clear: with this update Globetrotter has primarily worked on communication as well as on the point-collecting and point-redeeming mechanism. The user-friendliness, range of services and personalization though have hardly been changed since last year. Accordingly, the future use and perception of the Globetrotter Club stands or falls for and foremost with the modifications of the stage model. According to Globetrotter's COO words, it complies with the company's realignment giving "outdoor" an integrative design, shape and perception. In future, it´s all about the quantity of customer relationships. It remains to be seen if this will also have an impact whatsoever on the quality