In October of last year, the fashion retailer Francesca’s launched its first-ever loyalty program, called the Fran Club. It was the brand’s first foray into a new type of marketing focused less on highly polished photography and campaigns and more on direct relationships with customers.
Now about six months into the Fran Club’s life, Francesca’s CMO Jann Parish said the program has been a success. She said a non-member typically makes between three and seven visits to a Francesca’s store per year, while Fran Club members visit around 12 times a year. Not only that, but the average order values of those members is 40% higher than standard customers both in-store and online. Since October, Francesca’s has added more than 250,000 members.
“And that’s just a few months in,” Parish said.
Members of the Fran Club get a couple of different benefits, like a $10 coupon for every $100 spent, a birthday gift, members-only sales and early access to new products. Twenty-four-year-old Francesca’s sells women’s clothing for $50-$200 and has 460 U.S. stores, largely in malls. Its shoppers are primarily women ages 18-35.
Now, the retailer is focused on further expanding the Fran Club. This week, Francesca’s debuted a new campaign including the first TV commercial focused specifically on the loyalty club. The commercial was shot at a Francesca’s event in Miami and includes real-life members of the Club rather than paid actors or models.
The ad debuted this week across Francesca’s connected TV marketing. Additionally, Francesca’s has a Fran Club sign-up ad running on a radio station in Houston, the company’s hometown. Francesca’s declined to share exact investment figures but Parish characterized the ads involving members as being easier to produce than previous iterations of the company’s marketing, which relied more heavily on models and highly-produced traditional campaigns.
“It’s a little early to say what the lifetime value increase of members versus non-members is,” Parish said. “But we can already see long-term benefits like helping us decide [based on where members are located] where to open more stores.”
Parish said Francesca’s plans to open more stores, though on a limited basis. She said marketers need to be cautious as we head into a tough economic situation. Both marketing and retail are expensive propositions, and she said Francesca’s — which just came out of bankruptcy three years ago — is relying on data more than ever to make sure they’re making the right decisions. In 2021, it was acquired by the private equity firms TerraMar Capital and Tiger Capital.
“The campaign itself is a good top-of-funnel piece,” Parish said. “But it’s not an always-on program. We’re running it now, this spring, and then will run it again during back-to-school. And in between, we’ll just focus on the customers we picked up from the campaign. That’s kind of recession-proofing the brand, keeping our dollars where we can see them.”
At a time when customer acquisition through performance marketing channels is harder and more expensive than ever, brands can benefit from the power of a good loyalty program in keeping those existing customers around.
“Lifecycle marketing is one of the most effective ways to grow, especially in a down market,” said Hanna Lane, senior account director of fashion at the growth marketing firm Power Digital. “[Loyalty members] already have a level of loyalty to the brand, so it’s the perfect opportunity to cross-sell new products while expanding lifetime value.”