Creating High Purr‑formance Customer Loyalty with MedicAnimal: A Q&A with Alan Lawrenson
MedicAnimal is a London-based online pet healthcare retailer, selling pet products including prescription medicines, pet food and accessories, and also owns retailers Pet Supermarket and Petmeds. Unlike other pet ecommerce companies, MedicAnimal was founded by a veterinarian Andrew Bucher. Whilst each company has a different target customer and proposition, one thing is for sure, the business always puts the customer and (pet!) at the heart of every marketing message.
Driving this focus is Customer Retention Manager, Alan Lawrenson, who’s been with the company for almost 10 years. Alan is tasked with driving customer lifetime value and boosting repeat purchases, so understanding the customer and their buyer journey is his team’s passion and critical to success.
Sailthru recently caught up with Alan to get a glimpse into how MedicAnimal is effectively managing to build deep customer loyalty and understanding of the individual customer across all three brands. Check out our Q&A below!
SAILTHRU: Managing and understanding the customer for one brand is a challenge in itself, how are you doing this across three different brand?
ALAN LAWRENSON: For us it was vital to understand the customer and their buying journey. Each of the three brands are positioned differently in the marketplace. They also operate in different physical markets. So, the task was to understand the individual customer per brand, per region.
Monitoring and breaking down the customer data has played a big role for us. Once you’re doing this, you start understanding the detail behind it. Currently, we have hundreds of segment lists. We do this by taking our business goals and applying these when building customer cohort lists, so rather than having just a single large list with all our customers, there are multiple lists with varying scenarios applied. These can be around number of orders, timeframe of orders, region, pet type, brands purchased, category and so much more.
It’s a lot of work but this level of detail helps to build customer loyalty.
How are you keeping the customer at the heart of your business?
ALAN: Like most companies, email marketing is important for us. We have a daily sales meeting, where we realign on our monthly goals and ask “Are the campaigns which we’re sending today going to be strong enough?” Each day we’re sending 2-3 emails, but to different customers and normally to a small pool. Our model is “care with a conscious.” We like to educate the customer, so every marketing campaign starts with “Why are we doing this?” Relevant and personalised messaging is so important when building loyalty — it’s the foundation.
Which of your key projects are focused on customer loyalty?
ALAN: There are four key projects: referral, points, loyalty scheme and our focus on charities.
Right now we’re really focused on our loyalty scheme which has been built into all of our marketing. For the first 5 orders you get 10% credit back to use on your following order, which needs to be used in the next 60 days – there’s massive urgency and impulse from the customer to use that. The credit has been built into all our marketing for loyalty members – which has helped us see a huge jump from first to second orders, which grew from 15% to 26%.
When you launch a loyalty programme it absolutely needs to be integrated into every marketing channel and we’ve achieved this digitally with Sailthru.
Then there’s our charity projects. Charities are a massive part of the brand, we give a lot of money to charities and do a lot of work to support them. Our customers can also vote for their charity of the month. Customers want to see businesses staying true to their brand – it gives a sense of authenticity. It’s also something our employees deeply care about; right now I’m raising money for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. It’s a fantastic organization and cause that I’d encourage anyone to look into and consider donating to!
Are you seeing any trends in the marketplace which are helping you with repeat purchases?
ALAN: Yes. One trend we’re seeing is the Amazon Dash Button, which you have around your home for reordering products. We’re investigating how we can use that because repeat business is central to our business model and health. We want to make our customers lives easier and engage with us online and offline. There’s a big trend around the button and we want to make sure we’re always experimenting and being innovative.
Loyalty can be so fluid in a competitive market. How can technology help brands in this area?
ALAN: The right technology is vital. In my 10 years, I’ve worked with four ESPs. There are a lot of platforms which are singing and dancing but struggle when you start integrating the type of unique campaigns you want to build.
With Sailthru, we had the support we needed with the integration of campaigns and our business model. We now slice and dice the data in their platform in a multitude of ways which has helped us have a deeper understanding of our customer, per brand and per region.