Foot Locker has discussed the introduction of a new loyalty program for some time now, and today the retail giant revealed to media that the new platform — dubbed FLX — is a few weeks away from its debut.
The most notable thing FLX offers that Foot Locker’s prior loyalty program didn’t is unity. With FLX, the athletic footwear retailer will abandon the banner-specific loyalty model driven by discounts that it once had and unify all of its stores including Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Footaction, Eastbay and Champs Sports.
“We know that our best customers shop across [all of the banners] but we haven’t done anything intentional to encourage that behavior until now,” Foot Locker chief marketing officer Jed Berger told select media this morning.
The benefits of FLX, which is free to join, is far different from the previous loyalty system. The program has three tiers that are based on the amount of money the consumer spends, and customers will earn 100 points for each dollar spent. Points are redeemable in one central reward center that can be accessed through the app of any banner. They can also be earned for online activities such as completing surveys and connecting social media accounts.
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Aside from points, customers will be able to get a “head start” on sneaker releases by being an FLX member, regardless of the tier he or she is on, and shipping is free with no minimum to spend, although some exclusions apply.
To streamline the browsing and shopping experience, Foot Locker is also combining its release calendar and launch locator functionality into one experience.
Prior to the U.S. rollout, Foot Locker tested the program in Lady Foot Locker and Foot Locker Netherlands. In September 2019, Dick Johnson, the firm’s CEO, spoke exclusively with FN and explained the mindset behind creating FLX.
“[Our consumer is] more about access and benefits, whether that be the ability to get a head start on a launch or to attend a pre-concert party at [event space] NYC33. Maybe it’s a case where you’ve got enough points to bring 10 friends to play ball at Madison Square Garden or participate in a photo shoot with NBA players,” Johnson told FN. “FLX is about what we can provide our consumer that they feel especially good about and could share. We want to create shareable moments for our consumer.”
During the interview with Johnson, the exec said FLX was expected to arrive stateside after the holidays. This morning, however, the company revealed there was no hard date for the launch and that the rollout will happen “in a few weeks.”
After today’s media preview, Berger told FN that uniting several banners was a daunting and time-consuming task for Foot Locker.
“There are so many dependencies to launch a multi-banner program like this. Whether IT, accounting, logistics, marketing — and that’s just if you were launching a brand-new platform from scratch,” Berger said. “We are moving away from multiple programs and merging multiple accounts to a single view of the customer.”
However, when FLX does launch, Berger is confident Foot Locker consumers will react favorably.
“Our previous program was very coupon dependent. We’re not that company with that consumer. A small base of our consumers actually cared, and we know that because we know how many were redeemed,” Berger told FN. “This one creates much more of an emotional benefit, much more of a sneaker currency benefit. It will connect much better.”
And Foot Locker’s overhaul to its loyalty program isn’t an anomaly within the footwear industry. Throughout 2019, several retailers and brands including Nike, Reebok, Famous Footwear and Nordstrom revealed refreshed platforms featuring rewards and experiences to bolster sales and keep consumers intrigued.
“Retailers are figuring out that your most loyal customers are clearly your best [shoppers] by a lot — they spend more money, they buy more frequently — and nurturing that consumer pays off,” Matt Powell, The NPD Group Inc. senior sports industry adviser, told FN in September.