e.l.f. Cosmetics takes loyalty to iconic new levels with Oracle CrowdTwist

Insights delivered by Oracle CrowdTwist enable global beauty brand to engage with customers, build a community, and stay ahead of market trends.

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The Oracle team has been awesome in helping us build a platform to make our vision a reality. Having that flexibility and being able to change elements as our program evolves is key to its success.

Brigitte BaronDirector of Global Customer Relationship Management and Customer Growth, e.l.f. Cosmetics

Business challenges

e.l.f. Cosmetics, a U.S.-based producer of cruelty-free makeup and beauty products, operates in a crowded space. It pitches itself to a young, dynamic audience that interacts extensively online and through social media. While accessing this competitive market involves cutting through the noise, it also involves listening to customers. Doing so effectively is crucial to e.l.f.’s success.

“We are really focused on inclusivity, being accessible, and bringing our consumers a prestige level of quality at an accessible price point,” says Brigitte Baron, director of global customer relationship management and customer growth at e.l.f. Cosmetics.

The company doesn’t operate its own stores. Sales are made either online through its various direct-to-consumer websites in each market of operation, or through brick-and-mortar retailers such as Walmart, Target, and Ulta.

“Ecommerce is super important, and during the pandemic we had a huge shift online, especially to our brand site,” says Baron.

Recent research by Gartner indicates that 80% of a company’s revenue is expected to come from just 20% of its existing customers. Faced with this reality, e.l.f. sought a meaningful, authentic loyalty program to complement its commitment to delivering excellent customer service that would resonate in such a competitive and populated space.

“The beauty and skincare world are very personal, so the more we build trust and a connection with the consumer, the more likely they are to stay with us,” says Baron.

With brick and mortar still critical to its business and the majority of its sales, the beauty brand needed an omnichannel loyalty program that would enable customers to engage through both online and in-store purchases.

While responding to its target market is important to e.l.f., consumers are increasingly aware of their online privacy.

Why e.l.f. Cosmetics chose Oracle

For e.l.f., marketing is very much a two-way process. Understanding and responding to its dynamic target market is at least as important to e.l.f. as communicating and distributing to customers. And while a loyalty program is an obvious solution to both these goals, e.l.f. had a handful of key criteria that had to be met.

To begin with, e.l.f. wanted to build a catalog of rewards that suited every type of consumer and gave them a genuine set of options in terms of accumulation and redemption. It also wanted a program that went beyond a purely transactional process.

“We really want unique opportunities for people to earn points. We are big on gamification and we want to encourage trials of new product categories, and activations tied to product launches,” says Baron. “We needed the flexibility and ability to keep the program exciting and fresh for participants.”

Innovative and forward-thinking brands such as e.l.f. realize that loyalty can’t be productized: it results from world-class engagement with customers, and in the ways that matter to them. So e.l.f. also wanted to make the program’s tiers meaningful. “Not every program does a great job of making it worthwhile to move up,” says Baron. “We thought about what we could do that would be truly unique for our top members. And we needed the technology to make all those things possible.”

In Oracle CrowdTwist Loyalty and Engagement, part of the Oracle Advertising and Customer Experience suite of applications, e.l.f. found a flexible, cloud-based platform. CrowdTwist enabled the company to manage customer retention, drive loyalty, and build a unique program across online and in-store channels that uses customer experience as a key differentiator. Through experiences such as non-purchase activities and gamification, new product trials, VIP events, and downloading the brand app, brands are able to engage customers beyond transactions and begin to understand why they consume and what motivates purchasing decisions.

With a dashboard offering insights into performance, e.l.f.’s loyalty team can tailor what's happening in the program to customers’ changing needs, wants, and purchasing patterns.

Results

The result is Beauty Squad, a loyalty program based on Oracle CrowdTwist Loyalty and Engagement that takes customer engagement to new levels. Members earn reward points both for online transactions, and also when they use the mobile app to scan and upload receipts for e.l.f. products purchased from brick-and-mortar stores.

“With CrowdTwist we do receipt scans so you can go onto your mobile app for [the store] or you can go onto the e.l.f. site and upload a picture of your receipt. It’s very simple,” explains Baron. “We have this functionality in every country where we’re sold, so you can just upload that receipt and you can get your points for a purchase.”

The omnichannel flexibility of the CrowdTwist platform enables e.l.f. to create consistent loyalty experiences, no matter which touchpoints—physical or digital—customers choose to interact with, ensuring that members receive rewards they can redeem via the channel that suits them.

Benefits vary by tier: Fan, Pro and Icon. Fan-level members gain insights into trends, while Icon members enjoy free shipping, a secret VIP Facebook group with exclusive content, and previews and samples of new products.

Interaction between members and e.l.f. is a crucial element of Beauty Squad. Many of e.l.f.’s new products are now developed based on feedback or suggestions from Beauty Squad members, who often also enjoy priority or even exclusive access to new launches.

And Beauty Squad goes beyond simply rewarding buyers for making a purchase. Members can earn points by engaging with the brand, sharing feedback, posting reviews on social media, or simply visiting designated areas of e.l.f.’s website. “We have this page called e.l.f. Cares that covers sustainability, and how we're giving back to our community,” says Baron. “We give people points for exploring that. Loyalty obviously enables us to reward and keep them engaged.”

Beauty Squad’s membership recently topped 2.8 million, and Baron sees the functionalities offered by Oracle as instrumental in the program’s success. Operating Beauty Squad effectively across e.l.f.’s global operations required the flexibility and customization that CrowdTwist delivers, with the business using both out-of-the-box and custom-built tools.

With a dashboard offering clear and actionable insights into performance, it’s also much easier for Baron’s team to edit what’s happening in the program on a monthly or even weekly basis. “Our loyalty manager is in there adding new products and rewards, which wouldn’t be possible with a lot of other solutions,” says Baron. “Our in-house technical team is very busy, so it’s great that we can do those things and get the insights ourselves.”

The Beauty Squad loyalty program running on the Oracle CrowdTwist platform is not only a loyalty and retention platform. It also assists in acquiring more ‘best’ customers, and helps e.l.f. to amplify its brand, drive advocacy, and grow customer lifetime value, while delivering customers exceptional brand experiences shaped by the needs and desires of its members.

Baron concludes: “The Oracle team has been awesome in helping us build a platform to make our vision a reality. Having that flexibility and being able to change elements as our program evolves is key to its success.”

Published:August 18, 2022

About the customer

e.l.f. Cosmetics is a U.S.-based cosmetics brand founded in 2004. Its products are 100% cruelty-free. Much of the company's sales come from its website, which doubles as a social networking site.