Ace Hardware Uses Only the Best Tools Available to Fix Their Customer Database

/ Source: GlobeNewswire

NEWTON, Mass., March 7, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- 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 had begun 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 began utilizing FreshAddress's Email Appending and patented Email Change of Address services to fill in the gaps created by missing, bouncing, and inactive email addresses in its email list.

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.

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.

ECOA (Email Change of Address)

Given that typical email address attrition rates are approximately 30% per year, many of the email addresses that Ace had collected were out of date or no longer in existence, causing many of them to bounce or, worse yet, to have turned into spam traps. FreshAddress's patented ECOA (Email Change of Address) technology updates 8% to 15+% of the bouncing or inactive email addresses in a file. Then through its automated quarterly processing, FreshAddress clients can expect double these results in the first year.

Ace's first ECOA service yielded over a 20+% match rate of deliverable addresses and two subsequent ECOA projects resulted in a combined total of over 50% new email addresses for Ace's bouncing and inactive file.

"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.

About FreshAddress:

FreshAddress, Inc., The Email Address Experts™, helps companies and nonprofits build and update their email databases. FreshAddress offers patented email change of address (ECOA) services, B2C and B2B email appending, list cleaning & hygiene, real-time email correction, among other services.  Hundreds of companies have entrusted their customer and donor databases to FreshAddress, including over 20% of the Fortune 50 firms and many of America's leading nonprofits. FreshAddress services are also offered through partner channels including data solutions providers, email messaging companies, email marketers, ESPs, and ISPs. The privately-held company was founded in 1999 and is based in Newton, MA.  For more information, visit .


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