Building a Company — And a Community — Based on Quality.
Backcountry began in 1996 with two guys, a stack of avalanche beacons, and a garage in Park City, Utah. With a vision to provide the best outdoor gear in the most effective way, lifelong friends Jim Holland and John Bresee began selling their avalanche gear under the domain names BCstore.com and BackcountryStore.com. In its first 15 years, the company grew at an astonishing rate. It became one of the few profitable online retailers for outdoor gear and grew large enough to become a direct competitor to industry giant REI. Backcountry launched a non-traditional athlete sponsorship program in 2004, which requires sponsored athletes to promote themselves and the brands they represent on social media. This sponsorship program reflects the brand’s philosophy of empowering the community.
Get More Customers Organically by Leveraging Existing Ones
Backcountry built a dedicated base of loyal customers with its premium quality that extends across the brand, from products to marketing content. Backcountry wanted to grow its exposure in a way appealing to its loyal community. Just as the athlete sponsorship program leverages athletes to market the brand, Backcountry knew a referral program would leverage their customers to promote engagement and communication that acquires new customers. With Extole’s platform, Backcountry could easily implement a program that extended across customer touch points and gained the insight needed to optimize each aspect of the campaign.
Extole enabled Backcountry to easily manage and control all aspects of its referral program. Backcountry chose which aspects to streamline with Extole’s existing templates and which aspects to personalize with its own promotional material. To keep its top-of-market quality, Backcountry leveraged Extole’s platform to craft creative imagery and messaging that fit into its existing brand guidelines. Once the campaign was up and running, Backcountry found it simple to A/B test elements such as which images were best received by customers and what CTAs were most effective.
Extole enabled Backcountry to easily manage and control all aspects of its referral program.
A High-Quality Referral Program for a High Quality Brand
In order to foster its reputation for quality, Backcountry wanted its referral program to be a platform for constant conversation with advocates. To do this, the brand implemented a referral CTA in the header and footer of every page on its website, giving customers the opportunity to refer during any stage of their purchase path. Using Extole’s platform, Backcountry determined the CTA that generated the most response was, “Give your friends $10,” allowing advocates to invite a friend into the Backcountry community with $10 off their first purchase. With this specific phrase, the CTAs generated millions of impressions and provided a consistent opportunity across the entire site for customers to engage with the program. To further encourage sharing during any stage of the customer journey, Backcountry placed a referral CTA and link on the Backcountry account login pages. This gave customers who had already purchased the opportunity to share their positive experience with friends, and it also gave the brand another way to further engage with customers. Backcountry found that these links produced a higher conversion rate, despite the restricted number of eyes seeing them.
Backcountry knows that the key to inspiring loyalty is through personalization, so the brand used Extole’s platform to provide an individualized referral experience to every customer. Advocates have the opportunity to personalize share messages to their friends across any channel, and the share experience prompts advocates to provide their first name so their friend knows exactly who referred them. Backcountry wanted this level of personalization in order to foster the sense of community among its customers, which is also reflected in the “thank you” email that advocates receive. The brand uses Extole to craft a creative experience specifically designed to make advocates feel appreciated, happy, and part of the greater Backcountry community. This is seen in both the messaging and imagery the brand uses.
The success of Julep's referral program rests heavily on the program’s promotion.
Continued Partnership for Long Term Success
Backcountry wanted to leverage their customers and promote the sense of community that helped build it into one of the largest online outdoor gear retailers.With Extole, the company turned its loyal customers into brand advocates and opened a new channel for organic, consistent customer acquisition. Backcountry plans on continuing its partnership with Extole to further expand its customer base and strengthen its brand community.