As a part of Rakuten, we have truly learned the power of loyalty. We have built a portfolio of clients that include the leading loyalty programs around the world. Because of this exposure, our parent company and us have decide to launch a new initiative named “Rakuten Loyalty“.
This unit will be led by our people, our technology, and our expertise. Our mission is simple in definition, but grand in scope – we will seek to develop the most innovative rewards acceleration platform in the world.
This journey is already underway, as we have become experts in utilizing our industry-leading rewards technology to connect members to the rewards that they love anytime, anywhere. You’ll begin to see that soon, but at a high level, Rakuten will be supporting our efforts to build the most innovative rewards technology across all devices and for all online activities, enabling members to earn and redeem rewards like never before.
We’ve also moved to a brand new stunning office that will allow us to continue to build the technical team needed to accomplish this exciting goal. We will be posting updates and photos soon, so keep checking back.
When we realigned our team to focus on a more streamlined client implementation process and for updating our clients’ RewardsBars and eMarkets, we knew we needed someone who could coordinate all of the moving parts, making sure that time and resources were being best utilized for successful projects. Fortunately for us we have someone on our team who can do just that. We have Noe Carmichael.
Noe joined our parent company’s US division, Rakuten USA, in March of 2006 and came to FreeCause in September of 2009 when Rakuten acquired FreeCause. As our Client Operations Project Manager, Noe manages our sprint/scrum process for our Client Operations team, managing the team’s resources for our client launches and updates in development, leading team meetings, and coordinating communications between our technical, project management, client operations, and management teams. Noe also serves as representative to our parent company on a number of regulation and company-wide initiatives and updates.
Currently Noe is coordinating several key client operations projects that will help further streamline our practices and improve efficiency. The main initiative is improving our scrum process for our client operations team, ensuring that our engineers are able to work faster and smarter, using the time allotted to better manage client-side expectations. It will enable us to provide our clients with a better level of communication so that they are aware of each step during the implementation process. In the end it will lead to a more successful launch for a client, allowing us to provide our rewards technology sooner to clients’ members.
Noe received her BA from Mount Holyoke College and a MLS from Simmons College Graduate School of Library Science. When not at FreeCause, Noe is more than likely doing something music related. As her alter ego – Saucy Lady – she is constantly busy DJing, performing, singing, and song-writing. She also started a music entertainment booking agency and is currently working on launching a music production tutorial program early next year. Other than her extensive musical interests, Noe enjoys yoga, gardening, hiking, and watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
Each month we track the latest news and trends in the loyalty industry. With the holiday season upon us, we’re also following the latest data on eCommerce spending and shopping behavior during this busy time of the year.
According to an IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, Cyber Monday set a record for the largest shopping day in history. With almost $1.5 billion in sales, this year’s Cyber Monday was up 30% over last year’s. Also, mobile devices played a much larger role in the shopping experience this year, with 13% of sales coming from mobile devices (an increase of 96% from last year).
In this Mashable article, a recent Google study detailed how people increase their search activity through mobile devices on holidays compared to regular days. The increase ranged from 7%-40% depending on the holiday, and in a separate study, Google found that 80% of tablet and smartphone owners will use their devices for their holiday shopping.
Three important initiatives for motivating loyalty members are examined in this PROMO magazine article. “Give’em what they want”, “VIP mentality”, and “Keep it simple” are discussed.
We were pleased to be named a Best and Brightest Company to Work For this month. We were recognized for our achievements in human resources, work-life balance, recognition, and community initiatives. Congratulations to our wonderful team!
We’re constantly working with top retailers to add them to our leading network and help consumers earn valuable rewards for shopping with them.
Below are the latest retailers that we are thrilled to add to our merchant network.
Rue La La
Donald J Pliner
Yesterday we recognized outstanding performance from Q3 with the announcement of our “Golden Toolbar Award” winner. The Golden Toolbar Award is presented quarterly to the employee(s) who achieved unprecedented results during the specific quarter. For 2012 Q3, our Golden Toolbar Award goes to Emmy Jonassen.
Emmy was honored for her leadership in drastically improving the marketing and performance of our B2C properties, which in turn will positively impact the success of our clients. Emmy has led our SEM efforts, significantly lowering our user registration cost and helping diversify install paths. She has also provided a wealth of experience and expertise in helping us create effective email, web, video, and user acquisition strategies that have continued to reap tremendous results.
Last but certainly not least, Emmy has been a great leader to the rest of the team. She’s given a number of coworkers the opportunities and guidance to succeed, further improving our overall performance. Emmy had a truly fantastic quarter in which she not only excelled in her individual goals, but also continued to step up as a leader by helping her coworkers to excel. She’s truly deserving of our Golden Toolbar Award.
Our parent company Rakuten announced today the acquisition of e-commerce logistics business Alpha Direct Services, further providing business services for Rakuten’s global e-commerce marketplaces.
Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten, explained the strategy behind the acquisition: “Speed and quality of delivery is at the heart of any solid e-commerce proposition and ADS will give us a logistics stronghold in Europe, which will further empower merchants using Rakuten’s marketplaces, as well as supporting future marketplaces.”
You can read about the acquisition in the official press release.
We are pleased to announce that FreeCause was named one of the 101 National Best and Brightest Companies to Work For.
The winning companies were assessed on a number of key measures including compensation, benefits, engagement, retention, employee development, recognition, communication, work-life balance, community initiatives, and strategic company performance.
Congratulations to the entire team on this wonderful achievement!
Each month we scour the web for the latest news and data about the loyalty industry. Here are a few of the articles we enjoyed and wanted to pass on.
As October comes to a close, we gear up for another busy holiday season. In this Internet Retailer article, holiday season data and projections are examined. One interesting point, 50% of consumers will have already started their holiday shopping by the end of October.
According to a study detailed in PROMO, 53% of consumers this holiday season will seek out discounts as part of their shopping experience.
A PriceGrabber study looked at the most popular gift categories for this upcoming holiday season. Clothing and gift cards lead the way. Learn more in this MarketingCharts article.
This infographic from Daily Infographic examines the needs and behaviors of online consumers. The infographic looks at mobile spend, top conveniences consumers look for, what influences their buying decisions, and much more.
Not surprisingly, through our innovative technology solutions we are able to collect a wealth of data about users’ online behavior. From clicks, conversions, lifetime values, you name it and we more than likely can tell you a lot about it. In order to be able to accurately decipher the information and utilize the valuable insights learned to effect significant results for our clients, we need to have talented individuals who love to crunch numbers, test variables, and analyze trends. We need people like Corinne Salchunas.
Corinne joined FreeCause last January as our Data Analyst, adding a much-needed analytical mind and level of expertise to our team. Her day-to-day responsibilities focus on analyzing our vast amount of user data to recognize various trends and identify opportunities for our company and our clients to continually build a stronger, more profitable relationship with members. Our advanced technology provides a robust amount of detailed data, which enables Corinne to scrutinize all of it and create a series of sophisticated reports and projections. These help us gain valuable insights into users’ behavior, wants, and needs, which we in turn can utilize to help our clients improve their technology solutions and marketing.
Currently Corinne is working on a number of key data initiatives including:
- Compiling and analyzing user data so that we can better understand user behavior online. We have begun creating user profiles which will help our clients better interact with and market to their members.
- Developing and testing new ways to better engage the user. One example is testing our notification sliders to make them more noticeable and enticing. Once achieved, this will increase the user’s ability to earn rewards and in turn increase their loyalty to our client.
- Segmenting users based on purchase history, browsing behavior, and search term choices. This will allow us to provide clients with detailed look into their users’ intent and actions.
- Generating detailed reporting on the health of our technology solutions so that we can always remain focused on providing our customers with the best solutions possible.
- Establishing best practice standards for our Push Notification messaging technology based on the extensive testing we’re conducting. These practices will be shared with our clients in order to help them fully leverage this engaging new technology.
Corinne graduated Trinity College, receiving a bachelor’s of science degree in Economics. When not crunching numbers at FreeCause, Corinne enjoys Pilates, reading, cooking with local produce, and volunteering for Achilles International.
Yesterday we announced the winner of our “Shugi Award” for September. The Shugi Award is given out to the employee(s) who go above and beyond during the month to help the company reach its goals.
For September we are proud to award the Shugi Award to Jessica Reinhard.
Jessica is our Graphic Designer and over the past few months, due to staff changes, has taken on the design responsibilities of two people and has delivered crucial creative assets for several key client launches and product updates. Jessica has handled each urgent design request with an unmatched level of determination, collaboration, and creativity. She has managed a mountain of design projects, in spite of being up against one tight deadline after another, and her work has continually exceeded expectations.
Jessica has embodied the type of get-it-done attitude we applaud here at FreeCause. We are very fortunate to have her on our team and she is well deserving of our Shugi Award.