Borders Quarterly Conference Call Gives Insight Into Borders Rewards

May 29, 2008 · 0 comments

The Borders bookstore chain has had some headaches in the past with their Borders Rewards program, to the point they had to revamp the program entirely last year after the program “failed to deliver” as they had hoped.
How’s the new program doing? The company’s quarterly financial results conference call (transcript courtesy of shows that they are a little happier with this version but that it hasn’t yet been used to its full potential.
A few days ago, Borders went live with its own website, (they had previously been in partnership with Amazon), and now Borders Rewards members can earn and redeem online as well as in stores. Members earn $5 in Borders Bucks for every $150 spent online or in stores. Borders reports more than 26 million members in the program, and says the program gets around 140,000 new members a week. Ed Wilhelm, the company’s CFO, said that they “continued to leverage the valuable customer data from the Borders rewards loyalty program to improve the effectiveness of our promotional discounts.” Borders occasionally sends members discounts on specific titles, as well as percentage-off coupons.
Too often, what’ll happen is that a merchant will set up a rewards program but not use the data collected in an effective way to market to their best customers. It sounds like Borders is actually trying to capitalize on their members’ purchasing habits to figure out how to motivate them to buy more and more often.
I’m sure that Borders will get more useful information now that they can send out their promotional emails and actually have the members click through to their own website — they can monitor not only their emails’ open rate (which they say is around 25%, a number they’re happy with), but they can also see how many of these convert into actual sales.
It sounds like the jury’s still out on the success of the new Borders Rewards, but they’re hopeful that with the launch of, they’ll be able to really capitalize on their program to drive sales.

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