Established in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota in 1921, Coborn’s, Inc services 120+ grocery, convenience, liquor, and other retail locations throughout the Midwest United States. The employee-owned company strives to live out its vision to be remarkable by inspiring happiness, healthy living, and simplicity one guest at a time.
This commitment is at the center of Coborn’s marketing, with a data-driven and customer-centric marketing strategy being a long-time priority. The supermarket company has been on the leading edge of implementing technological innovations that promote a preferred customer experience. When it decided to deploy its loyalty program, Coborn’s recognized the value in partnering with Birdzi, a leading AI solutions provider for the grocery industry, to build out and execute the strategy. Powered by Birdzi’s customer engagement platform, the company launched the beta of its MORE Rewards loyalty program on May 1, 2016, resulting in stronger customer loyalty and increased purchase frequency and basket size.
Challenge and Objectives
In 2016, Coborn’s lacked a comprehensive loyalty program to drive stronger customer engagement across its in-store and digital channels. Looking to foster stronger relationships with its shoppers by offering savings on relevant products, the supermarket needed a solution with personalization capabilities to entice repeat customers and brand faithfulness; a must in today’s retail landscape. In fact, according to a 2016 Nielsen study, 74% of customers agree that loyalty programs make them more likely to continue doing business with a company.
As such, Coborn’s sought to launch a more focused, and card-less, loyalty program that drove customer engagement through the chain’s website and mobile app.
Coborn’s required a vendor that could help them provide personalized digital savings for their shoppers and increase customer engagement. As such, Coborn’s turned to Birdzi to help launch its entire loyalty rewards program and increase engagement on digital channels. The omnichannel approach that Birdzi enabled attracted Coborn’s as they strived to deliver the same experience to their own customers.
In just three years, Birdzi has helped forge Coborn’s path to digital transformation by driving Coborn’s MORE Rewards program. Offering a platform that Coborn’s could grow into, the journey to create a successful loyalty program started with web and mobile app integrations and has expanded to more thoroughly target shoppers and build lasting loyalty.
MORE Rewards Program
The Birdzi platform is fully integrated into Coborn’s loyalty program, powered by NCR, allowing new user information to be reflected in the NCR platform in real-time.
The integration also allows Coborn’s shoppers to enroll in the MORE Rewards program, view their point balances through the mobile and web app, and have access to digital receipts after they complete transactions from the app. As well, the Birdzi platform allows Coborn’s shoppers to take advantage of instant rebates, giving them credit for the value of a coupon automatically for the next transaction.
To assist Coborn’s in signing up shoppers to the card-less MORE Rewards loyalty program, Birdzi developed a responsive web application that allowed store associates to sign up shoppers. In addition to this Coborn’s was provided access to an Offer Management and Customer Service portal that manages back-office capabilities including updating offers and campaigns, providing customer service, and creating and importing audiences for targeted campaigns.
“One of the things we love about Birdzi is the innovation, always one eye looking out to see what’s on the horizon and beyond.”
-Diana Barr, Director of Loyalty Marketing, Coborn’s
The approach was backed by Coborn’s customer data and insights to target shoppers based on their personal preferences, purchase history, and current location. Birdzi’s proprietary shopper profiling platform provides a deeper understanding of shopper behavior that enables Birdzi to help Coborn’s engage with its guests in a much more personalized way. Birdzi deploys relevant offers to guests and drives customer loyalty through a dedicated guest-facing website, mobile shopping app, personalized emails, and in-store beacons.
Throughout the development of the MORE Rewards program, Birdzi leveraged cutting-edge and forward-thinking technology to drive customer engagement in new ways that were unique to the grocery industry at the time.
Weekly, Interactive Personalized Emails and Flyers
With the help of Birdzi’s unique shopper engagement platform, Coborn’s can now offer more personalized digital shopper savings such as weekly personalized and interactive mobile and web app ad fliers and digital coupon emails based on customer purchase history and shopping app behavior.
To power this experience, Coborn’s provides Birdzi a comprehensive list of all the items that will be featured in each weekly ad. Birdzi then assigns a score to each item for every single shopper in the loyalty program, identifying the most relevant items for individual shoppers – while taking into account favorited and items that shoppers have added to their lists – and includes those items in personalized emails. Personalized items are also available to shoppers in the Coborn’s mobile app, allowing them to easily add those items to their shopping lists. For the digital coupon emails, Birdzi scores the newest coupons weekly from both the original manufacturer and from Coborn’s and then features coupons that are most relevant for each shopper.
What’s more, the Birdzi platform allows Coborn’s shoppers to create shopping lists based on recipes. By integrating with ShoptoCook, Birdzi pulls in recipes that users can browse, filter, and search to add ingredients to their shopping lists.
Outcome and Benefits
When Coborn’s started with Birdzi, the company had not recruited members to any loyalty program. Birdzi has empowered Coborn’s to drive digital engagement and understand, through data, that digitally engaged customers are spending far more in stores.
Integrating Birdzi’s offer creation platform, mobile application, in-store beacons, consumer data analytics, and more has allowed Coborn’s to easily create and deliver offers quickly growing its MORE Rewards membership.
Shoppers, meanwhile, enjoy more rewards, access to shopping and planning tools, personalized emails, and loyalty clubs that lead to higher levels of engagement with the Coborn’s brand.
With Birdzi, Coborn’s can also better understand their customers – what they are buying and what their purchasing journey looks like. Using these insights, Birdzi can predict shopper habits as Coborn’s builds new stores or remodels existing stores. Additionally, the use of personalization to grow customer digital engagement gives Coborn’s the opportunity to reduce their spend on increasingly ineffective and expensive print advertising and other mass marketing.
As a result of the partnership, Coborn’s Inc. received a 2018 NGA Creative Choice Award for Integrated Marketing in February 2018 for its implementation of Birdzi technology through its MORE Rewards loyalty program.
With the program in place, Coborn’s has been well-positioned to react to changing customer demands, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As shoppers during the pandemic grew concerned about physical shopping, the enhanced customer engagement portal offered digital coupons and provided customers’ receipts on the retailer’s mobile app, and the website.
“Birdzi never makes us feel like that they don’t have time for us. We feel like their only client. We love that they work with us to continue to push the edge of loyalty and personalization forward for our industry”
Results By the Numbers
As a trusted tech partner, Coborn’s saw immediate results with the enhanced MORE Rewards program with customers responding positively to the new initiatives. Additionally, encouraging shoppers to become digitally engaged via the methods above, Coborn’s saw significant increases in shopper retention and spend.
For more information about Coborn’s journey, click here to listen to their podcast interview on The Retail Perch.
Birdzi is an innovative provider of end-to-end personalized digital customer engagement solutions for grocery retailers. Its platform helps regional retailers leapfrog their largest competitors by driving contextually relevant engagement across every touchpoint, inside and outside the store. Birdzi’s AI-powered personalization uses data science and big data to deliver real-time, personalized offers to individual shoppers to grow basket size, increase the frequency of shopping trips, and improve customer retention. Birdzi’s solutions are used in hundreds of grocery stores, driving millions of relevant digital offers to consumers each month. For more information, visit www.birdzi.com.
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