The secret sauce that fuels Barbeques Galore’s customer loyalty approach

In recent years, points-based loyalty programs and spending and savings offers have mushroomed as marketers have sought to create more regular engagements with customers.

But for Barbeques Galore, where the average purchase cycle for a new barbecue is seven to eight years, establishing more consistent engagement with customers has been a difficult proposition.

So when CEO Angus McDonald and his team considered a customer loyalty program, they knew they would need something more than just another points offering. They also knew that if Barbeques Galore didn’t rise to the challenge, someone else could.

“What we’re seeing is the growth of a much more engaged customer in our category,” McDonald said. Marketing director. “People’s relationship with food is changing and the willingness to explore new and different styles of cooking is a really exciting part of our category.

“There are so many different things you can cook on a barbecue and so many different ways to do it. There are also many different types of barbecues that you can use to provide this experience, including ways to use a barbecue with rubs and sauces, accessories, and more.

Growing interest in barbecuing is translating into an exciting opportunity for the business, with McDonald’s noting that Australians have started buying additional units such as smokers and kettles to sit next to traditional barbecues. In turn, this has fueled interest in learning what they can do with new cookers.

What was evident, however, was that the traditional transactional loyalty program would not create the types of relationships Barbeques Galore sought to establish. Research demonstrated the importance of creating a sense of community, which led the retailer to investigate how this could translate into an engaged audience around their brand.

“We’re looking to make a much more emotional connection with our customers and build a community around all the great things about barbecue in Australia,” McDonald said.

The result is the Barbeque Legends Club, an online community providing members with information and access to over 30 free classes to share their barbecue passion.

“The Barbeque Legends Club that we are putting together is all about helping connect with people looking to immerse themselves further in the category, whether they are new to barbecuing or advanced in barbecuing,” said McDonald.

The Club also offers access to courses with award-winning barbecues and the opportunity to participate in face-to-face and online paid masterclasses. Barbeques Galore has recruited members through its social and email channels and through a group of ambassadors.

“This is just the start, but we already have thousands of members in the online community and we are seeing early active engagement. We are looking to continue to focus on these new members and involve them in the program, ”said McDonald. “Between now and Christmas we will be active every week with content, course launches and other online events. Now that we are starting to navigate the pandemic, we will also come back to the in-person events. ”

Most importantly, the club is already driving the continued engagement that McDonald’s and his team have sought out and created business opportunities through the sale of barbecues and related products.

“There are plenty of opportunities for us to continue working with a customer between barbecue purchases and bringing them back to our stores, for rubs, sauces and other consumables,” McDonald says. “But also, whenever a new technology comes into the category, there is an opportunity to introduce it to our members first as well.

“It’s about maintaining an ongoing engagement with our customers, rather than seeing them every seven to eight years when they decide they want a new barbecue. ”

The program is one in a series of renovations McDonald’s and his team have undertaken since joining Super Retail Group’s Barbeques Galore in mid-2019. The company has renewed and modernized its in-store experience, in particular by deploying new formats, and transformed its product range. It is also taking important steps to invest in e-commerce and build its own market.

“We have been focused on introducing new, innovative and exclusive products into our business,” says McDonald. “And we’ve done a lot of work on systems and processes, which has resulted in heavy investments in technology. ”

These investments include a new ERP system and the acquisition of Commerce Cloud and Marketing Cloud solutions from Salesforce.

“This gives us a much better capacity in terms of connecting with our customers in the omnichannel retail world,” McDonald said. “But the essential element that really pulls it is our brand. We had to work to define much more clearly what made Barbeques Galore unique and special, and this set us apart from our competitors in the market.

This led to the creation of a new customer value proposition and branding campaign in 2021, with the associated ad campaign winning silver at the Sydney Design Awards 2021. Barbeques Galore was also named among the 20 coolest retailers by Inside retail reviewed last year.

This work also led to the creation of Barbeque Legends.

“The beautiful thing about what we’re creating here is that it’s a real community of like-minded people who are passionate about barbecue, and so we already naturally see people sharing content and ideas, ”says McDonald. “That’s what is so exciting. The category itself is growing as participation is very different from what it was awhile ago.

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Joseph P. Harris