From the time we onboarded our first merchant, our team realized the importance of demonstrating to our merchants just how much value the Swell platform adds to their businesses. Today, we've taken an important step towards that goal with the release of a detailed performance dashboard, which is now live in the Program Dashboard section of your Swell account (note that you'll need to be logged in to Swell for that hyperlink to work).
In a single screen, Swell merchants now have a real-time view into the performance of their rewards programs, referral programs, and newsletter signup tools! We recommend using our new tool to analyze returns from each component of our platform, study the impact of tweaks to the program over time, and - perhaps most importantly - to determine Return on Investment (ROI) from the program.
In this post, we'll provide a detailed overview of how to use the Program Dashboards not just to analyze performance, but to make actionable improvements as well.
A User's Guide to the Program Overview Tool
You'll notice that the Program Dashboard consists of four main categories of metrics, all of which can be found along the top of the screen: Value Generated, Total Investment, Points Earned, and Points Redeemed. Let's take a quick peek at the metrics contained within each category.
The first screen you'll see when you go to the Program Dashboard section of your Swell account is the Value Generated section:
Just as it sounds, this screen provides an overview as to each of the ways that Swell is making money for your business. We break the ways in which the Swell platform generates value into four categories:
- Rewards Purchases: This is our way of determining how much value Swell's rewards program is generating from your business. The revenue which appears in this chart consists only of those purchases made with a coupon issued by the Swell system -- it's the closest thing we have to attributing a purchase directly to the rewards program.
- Of course, it's also important to keep in mind that Swell also contributes to other purchases as well; for example, many customers will decide to purchase in order to earn more points, and not just when they're ready to redeem their existing points. Because it's harder to tie those purchases directly back to Swell though, you can consider Rewards Purchases a very conservative estimate of the value that our program is adding to your business!
- Referral Revenue Generated: Just as in the referral program dashboard, referral revenue includes revenue generated when somebody clicks on a unique referral link (generated by Swell) and makes a purchase.
- Email Subscriber Revenue: This value is equal to the number of newsletter subscribers Swell has captured, multiplied by a benchmark value of $3 per email subscriber. We recognize, however, that email subscribers are worth different amounts to different businesses! For that reason, we'll soon be adding in a field to allow you to adjust the value of each email subscriber based on your unique business.
- Email Notification Purchase Revenue: This is revenue generated directly from the Points Reminder email (i.e. when a customer receives the Points Reminder email and then makes a purchase). For those who are unfamiliar, the Points Reminder email is a great way to remind customers that they've earned points with your store. If you haven't already, turn it on in the Email Notifications section of your Swell account!
- Note that we didn't include revenue from the Redemption Reminder email as a separate category as well -- remember, the difference is that the Redemption Reminder email only sends after the customer has enough points for a reward. Because somebody who receives the Redemption Reminder email should be redeeming points for a coupon and then making a purchase with that coupon however, that revenue falls into the "Rewards Program Revenue" section.
Next, we have the "Total Investment" category:
Total Investment includes two types of costs: (1) any discounts provided via any of the tools which Swell offers, and (2) any fees paid to Swell directly. The goal is to put all of the information you need to truly understand how much Swell is making for you right at your fingertips, and the Total Investment section is designed to do just that.
We titled the third category "Points Earned", but you can learn more than just how many points have been distributed to customers in this section -- it gives you an idea as to how many "actions" have been taken across any Swell-related programs as well!
An action is any activity a customer performs within your rewards program, referral program, or newsletter signup tool. For example, if a customer earned points for following your store on Twitter, referred a friend, and signed up to your newsletter, each of those individual activities would count as an "action". We think that many of our merchants will be pleasantly surprised to see just how often their customers are interacting with the programs they've created in Swell!
Similarly, the Points Redeemed section provides insight into not just how many points customers have exchanged for discounts, free products, etc., but also the number of times that points have been redeemed:
We expect that for some merchants, it will also be useful to examine the Points Redeemed and Points Earned sections in conjunction with one another. Subtracting Points Redeemed from Points Earned gives you real-time insight into what we would call "points outstanding" -- this can help you approximate the number of discounts you may potentially be responsible for distributing at a later date.
How Can I Use the Program Overview to My Advantage?
Of course, at the end of the day, the purpose of Swell's Program Dashboard tool isn't just to display a variety of metrics, but to put them to good use!
We would encourage you to use your Dashboard to identify ways to get even more out of your Swell membership. Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas based on what you might see in your account:
My Value Generated is Greater Than my Total Investment
Great! This means that you're achieving a tangible, measurable ROI from Swell. However, just because Swell is making you money doesn't mean that you can't make your program even more powerful. Keep reading and see whether any of the following tips might help you earn even more from our program!
My Value Generated is Less Than my Total Investment
If you find this to be the case in your account, there's by no means any reason to panic. While the overwhelming majority of merchants do achieve a positive ROI from our platform, those who don't yet have positive ROI numbers typically need to take one of two courses of action:
- Give it some time. We've found that the ROI Swell merchants achieve after having used our platform for just three months is 50% higher on average than ROI after month 1. Practically speaking, this makes a lot of sense! It takes time for your customers to learn about your rewards and/or referral programs in particular; the longer your programs run, the more customers will want to take part in them, and the more you'll benefit in turn.
- Follow best practices. In some cases, we've also found that merchants may not necessarily be doing all that they can to help customers learn about their programs. We always suggest taking a look at our blog post on rewards program "best practices", which contains a running list of all of the great tactics we've seen merchants employ to get the most out of their Swell memberships.
Put a bit more simply, a combination of (1) doing everything that you can to ensure customers have the opportunity to learn about your programs and (2) allowing them the time to do so is the key to success.
Customers Have Points, But Don't Seem to Be Redeeming Them
If the Points Earned number continues to increase in your Program Overview, but you haven't started to see the Redemptions begin to trickle in, consider whether some of the tools built into Swell's platform might be able to help.
For example, one of the most effective ways to remind your customers that they have points to redeem is to use the Points Reminder and Redemption Reminder emails, both of which are available in the Email Notifications section of your Swell account. Swell takes the hard work out of reminding customers that they have points to redeem by automating the process for you, all on a time interval which you can choose based on when your customers are most likely to come back and make another purchase.
Of course, time is also often a factor here as well. Customers who earn points often won't redeem them until they're ready to make another purchase -- for some businesses, that might mean waiting 3 months or more until customers are ready to come back!
We're eager to hear what you find in your Program Dashboards! Don't be afraid to drop us a note or add a comment to let our team know how you plan to use your dashboards to your advantage.