Newton, MA (March 7, 2011) – Ace Hardware, the largest retailer-owner cooperative, has 4600 stores and generates approximately $12 billion in revenues. Ace’s company-wide loyalty program called “Ace Rewards” rewards its shoppers (members) “every time you shop.” In an effort to cost-effectively promote its products and services to its Rewards members, Ace realized it needed to grow its email marketing program.

The Problem: Because the Ace Rewards program came into existence before email was as widely used a marketing channel as it is today, Ace had a low percentage of email addresses in its 20 million member Rewards database. Looking to rectify this problem, Ace’s marketing department distributed an RFP (Request for Proposal) to 5 – 6 leading vendors of email database services. After careful diligence and testing, Ace chose FreshAddress to be its email database partner based on FreshAddress’s superior match rates, accuracy and performance during the testing phase as well as its reputation for unrivalled client service and email expertise.

The Solutions:

Ace decided that FreshAddress’s Email Appending and patented Email Change of Address services would be the best way to grow its email database efficiently.

B2C (Business to Consumer) Email Appending

The majority of Ace’s customer database contained names and postal addresses but lacked email addresses. By utilizing FreshAddress’s Email Append technology and service on a quarterly basis, Ace hoped to gain guaranteed deliverable email addresses for up to 25+% of its postal records. FreshAddress’s match rates and reputation for data accuracy derive from its proprietary internal database of over 600 million opt-in records, multi-source matching against the opt-in databases of other leading providers, and its comprehensive email list hygiene, permission messaging, and double-scrubbing process.

Results and Benefits – Email Addresses Increase by Close to 1/3!

On the first Email Append Ace performed using FreshAddress, Ace was able to match 15.8% of its customer file. Since then, two additional quarterly appends have unearthed a combined total of 31% more email addresses for Ace Rewards members.

We’ve just completed our third Email Append and ECOA process to increase the number of email addresses in our Ace Rewards database. Utilizing both services in October 2010, we added 700,000 NEW email addresses to our database, increasing the number of active emails in our customer file by 27% in just one run. And in less than one year (3 runs), we’ve increased the size of our Ace Rewards customer email databases by 1.7 million emails or 66%!!!

-- Cari Elder Long – CRM Promotions Specialist. Consumer Marketing

Performance is the True Test

While gaining email addresses for its Ace Rewards members was important, the performance of these email addresses was the true test of the program’s success. Upon analysis of the results, Ace found that customers it could now reach by email shopped more often, bought more frequently, and had higher average orders compared to the single channel customers (i.e. those without email addresses) in its files. In less than a year’s time, the program has generated a multiple return on its investment with a long tail of purchases to come.

Working with FreshAddress and its knowledgeable staff has been effortless and seamless. Our loyal customers clearly appreciate the new email communications they now receive. It’s a win-win situation for everybody.

-- Cari Elder Long – CRM Promotions Specialist. Consumer Marketing

About Ace Hardware

Throughout its 85-year history, Ace has been known as the helpful hardware place by both customers and communities. For its first 50 years in business, Ace was privately held. In 1976, Ace became a retailer-owned cooperative. Each store is independently owned and operated by local entrepreneurs who, many times, live in the communities they serve. Today, Ace is the largest retailer-owned cooperative and clear leader in the convenience segment of the hardware industry in terms of wholesale and retail sales and strength of the brand. Ace’s 4,600 stores in all 50 states and more than 60 countries generate annual retail sales of approximately $12 billion.