Incentivising product upgrades in one simple sentence with Karcher

The story so far

Kärcher, the global leaders in cleaning technology, wanted to run a promotion with the aim of encouraging people to upgrade their existing window vacs to the top of the range model, the WV5.

The July 2016 promotion itself was focused on current window vac owners, and offered them a cash incentive to upgrade to a better machine. If they bought the WV5 – with an RRP of £89.99 – and traded in their old machine, they could receive up to £30 in cashback.

The emphasis was ultimately on driving sales through existing channels. Current window vac owners simply traded them in for the top-of-the-range model and received their cashback. If a customer bought the WV5 but didn’t trade in an old machine – no cashback.

 

What’s the problem?

Kärcher knew that many consumers in the cleaning technology market had bought competitor window vacs and weren’t happy with them. They wanted to improve the efficiency of their cleaning by trading in a less effective machine for the WV5, removing the barrier to purchase by giving them a substantial reward for doing so.

We consulted with Kärcher on a solution to meet their objectives, knowing that attracting consumers with a trade-in was a new initiative for them.

The issues were, then, how to put together the campaign, manage the reverse logistics and recycling, and deliver a seamless, successful promotion?

Working together

Having worked with some of the team before, Kärcher were keen to get us on board at the earliest stage. The Kärcher sales team knew they wanted to offer a trade-in type deal, and asked us for potential ideas and solutions for the brief.

Measuring ROI was of course important, but the promotion was brand new and one of the key factors was delivering a seamless engaging campaign, one that would protect and enhance Kärcher’s excellent reputation.

We answered the brief, working closely with Kärcher to fully appreciate the objectives of the campaign, and create and manage mechanics that, while relatively complex, appeared as simple to customers as four easy-to-follow steps.

What we did

Kärcher briefed hundreds of stores where the window vacs were sold, including B&Q and Currys, to inform them of the promotion. In store, signs were displayed highlighting the offer and freestanding units advertising the promotion were put up at the point of sale areas.

Similarly, on their retail partners’ websites, compelling headline banners summarised the offer and drove customers to purchase. Customers who clicked through were then taken to a microsite created by us.

The accessibility of the microsite was fundamental to the campaign’s success. We designed, developed and managed the site, working closely with Kärcher – and built it to appear as if the consumer was still exploring the main website.

Once on the microsite, customers could not only make their claims, but also access all the promotion information, including contact details, where to buy, what to buy, how to claim, and FAQs. Keeping all this information centrally meant we could minimalise questions and complaints, and assure Kärcher customers got a great experience.

We were really happy with the process and impressed with the design, which tied in nicely with our own creative.

- Kate McElroy, Trade Marketing Manager at Kärcher

Customers would enter the details of their purchase on the microsite, and upload a copy of the receipt for the new window vac. We would then validate the claim in-house, and email the customer to explain if they had been successful or not with their claim.

We then sent a prepaid postage label to the customer so they could send in their old machine. Here, no proof of purchase was required, as we worked with Kärcher’s existing refurbisher to manage the trade-in devices, so they could see which goods were validated once received.

The results were assessed and if successful the Sodexo team sent £30 cashback to the customer directly via bank transfer.

Simplicity was key. Clearly no customer would be prepared to complete a laborious task, no matter what the reward.

We managed the entire process and promotion including answering customer queries with a dedicated helpline for customers to use. With just under 75% of queries achieving a successful redemption, the trade-in process proved to be easy for all customers to follow.

Issues were generally around the validity of the machines. In these instances, Sodexo escalated queries to us and we were happy to advise on these.

- Kate McElroy, Trade Marketing Manager at Kärcher

A real challenge we faced was with the wording of the promotion, as it had the potential to sound pretty complicated. It was hard to get the offer down to one sentence! There were many iterations of the design before the wording was finalised as it was so key to get it right – it had to be easy for the customers to understand while sticking to brand guidelines.

Lessons learned

Time was a big issue. The stores involved, of which there were hundreds, needed more time to get everything ready, and the online retailers wanted several months’ notice ahead of hosting the promotional banners. A longer timeline would be suggested for the next campaign – and we would like to add extra marketing support to help Kärcher manage the logistics of working with numerous retail partners.

There were further issues in-store too. The retailers can set their own prices for merchandise, and the WV5 was on shelves from anywhere between £60 and £90. At the same time, stores would also be running their own offers on other Window Vac models such as the WV2, and many of the offers cannibalised the trade in potential, drawing attention elsewhere in the range.

We also learned a great deal about incentivising retailers to push the focal offer and, thanks to our varied output, we are well placed to advise and deliver incentives to support an initiative like this.

From the outset, we skilfully project managed the promotion, from building the website, to developing and controlling the mechanics of the offer.

Sodexo were very good at managing the project, and their in-house team did an excellent job of answering queries.

- Kate McElroy, Trade Marketing Manager at Kärcher

The mechanics of the promotion were excellent, and Kärcher would be happy to use us as their consumer promotions partner again. The volumes, though not as large as hoped, were fairly inevitable of a trial campaign.

Through the results we gathered, it’s clear that the majority of the claims were made at both Costco and Amazon, suggesting that those searching for a specific product were perhaps the mostly likely to purchase, rather than those simply browsing in more typical hardware or cleaning stores – a great piece of insight for any future campaigns.

With lessons learned and a great partner relationship in the bag, Kärcher are keen to explore further cashback on trade-in promotions – maybe even a pressure washer nearer the summer time.

We were happy with Sodexo and the mechanics. The relationship was good, and Eleanor and Michael managed the project very well. All queries were dealt with quickly and we were given a full review of results at the end. We definitely felt it was a partnership. Sodexo keep the relationship going, they are still in touch with ideas and offer to come to meetings, so it's a great relationship in the partnership sense.

- Kate McElroy, Trade Marketing Manager at Kärcher

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