Small Business Spotlight: A-1 Comics

A-1 Comics isn’t just a store — it’s an experience, a place of welcome, where people can go to hang out and be themselves. It has pretty much anything a humble hobby enthusiast could ever want — comic books, trading cards, toys. If that seems a bit overwhelming, don’t worry! The friendly neighborhood staff knows every inch of it and is happy to help. In fact, the staff is what makes A-1 Comics shine. They pride themselves on creating a great experience for their customers, and that pride is precisely what makes them really great at creating it.

But how do you level up when you’re already great?

Ruth (General Manager at A-1 Comics, with stores in Roseville, Folsom, and Sacramento) thought she might find that answer in a rewards program. After all, customers were constantly asking for discounts — it made a lot of sense to look for a way to make sure A-1’s top customers were being rewarded.

So she turned to Fivestars.

Fivestars enabled her to set up a custom-built rewards structure that her customers love while taking the heavy lifting out of tracking points the customers earned.

Reaching new customers

Ruth had simply wanted a rewards program, but what she found herself with was an all-in-one marketing platform. For instance, she saw unexpected results from Fivestars’s Promotions tool.

“We started using the Promotions feature and realized something really awesome was happening — people who were coming in, they weren’t our normal customers!”

Before turning to Fivestars, she had been doing a lot of work around reaching customers (with flyers, etc.), which, she guesstimated, was only reaching about 5% of their customer base.

Visualizing trends can supercharge your marketing

Another surprise came in the ability to use the information in her Dashboard to visualize trends in customer behavior.

Now with Fivestars, it’s easy for Ruth to visualize the impact her marketing efforts are having on her business.

“In our monthly ticket sales tracker, we can see when there’s been a spike in sales. And whenever we’ve looked at the timing of those spikes, it’s lined up with one of the promotions we were running at the time. Being able to actually see that happening has been invaluable!”

What’s more, Ruth can easily go one step further and take a look at how A-1’s promotions and rewards are performing in comparison with one another, information which she can use to craft better and better offers. For instance, at a glance at A-1’s Fivestars Dashboard, she can see which rewards her customers are redeeming the most. “Being able to look at the data and easily see what’s going on can really tell you a lot about what your customers like,” she said. At Ruth’s stores, their most popular reward is a tie between “Free graphic novel for 400 pts” and “Free playmat for 400 pts”.

(Check out the multiple rewards tiers A-1 set up!)

But the rewards themselves aren’t what’s most valuable

If you ask Ruth, it’s more about the feeling the customer has about the rewards. Customers have even told Ruth that when they see a push notification pop up on their phone, they don’t even read the text, they just come in.

“A lot of our customers care a lot about the points — but don’t use them. The points tap into the psychology of shopping, kind of like a game. It’s part of the overall experience, part of what makes customers feel important and welcome.”

All of this has allowed A-1 Comics to not only take their already stellar customer experience to the next level but also to both hone their marketing tactics and reach a completely new segment of their customer base. Well done, Ruth!

About the Author
Jason Liu

Jason Liu is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Fivestars. When he isn't launching new products and features, he's collecting points (mostly at boba tea shops) and adding new memberships (75 and counting!) at local businesses with Fivestars.

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