Skip to main content

Exclusive Q&A: Aaron’s Company transforms omnichannel commerce

Aaron’s, Fort Smith, Ark.
Aaron's is implementing omnichannel Salesforce modules.

The Aaron’s Company Inc. is shifting omnichannel sales and marketing activities to a new enterprise platform.

Chain Store Age recently spoke with Hody Crouch, VP, data & analytics at Aaron's, about how the omnichannel provider of lease-to-own and retail purchase solutions of appliances, electronics, furniture, and other home goods has been elevating marketing and digital commerce performance with Salesforce solutions.

Prior to implementing Salesforce solutions, what business challenges was Aaron’s facing?

In 2018, Aaron’s faced several challenges related to sales and direct marketing. We were experiencing a decline in the effectiveness of our traditional marketing channels, combined with increases in marketing costs and the average age of our core customer. 

We were also experiencing flat list sizes for our direct marketing channels. The email channel showed promise, but it was not growing much at that time. Customer engagement was also limited, and Aaron’s did not offer marketing to customers through text messaging at that time.

In the digital commerce channel, customers were demanding more information and more products tailored to their wants and needs. Shoppers also wanted the ability to complete more of our transaction online.

Why did you select Salesforce solutions?

Aaron’s engaged in a competitive process with several vendors covering both commerce and direct marketing. We involved a trusted partner to assist with both the vendor selection and initial implementation process and chose Salesforce due to the company’s broad assortment of solutions, ease of implementation with our homegrown platforms, and flexibility and customization options that we could implement over time. 

We selected Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Salesforce Marketing Cloud as anchors in our omnichannel strategy, and later added Data Cloud, Datorama, and Personalization.  We have also invested in enhancements related to customer data, customer behavior, artificial intelligence (AI), activation and text messaging.

What benefits have you received from your Salesforce implementation?

Today, Aaron’s customers are able to browse approximately 11,000 products through our e-commerce site at any time, clearly seeing our pricing terms, available payment options and their total cost of ownership. now accounts for over 18% of the Aaron’s business and over $220 million in annual lease revenues.

The combination of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Salesforce Data Cloud has accelerated subscriber growth in the email and text messaging channels. Since implementing the Salesforce modules, we have tripled our active subscriber count and increased conversion rates by 53% and also grown the marketing text message channel from zero to become a key part of our direct marketing strategy.

Customer journeys and personalization have enabled higher engagement and better conversion rates within our audiences. While we have recently seen a small pullback in performance in the email channel, conversions through text messages have more than made up the difference and allowed us to continue growing direct marketing at a healthy rate.

We also get significant utility from specific features within Marketing Cloud and Data Cloud.  Marketers are able to define customer segments for campaigns, allowing for faster campaign deployment.  We also see reduced cost by removing the need to constantly involve data professionals or consultants to design queries and execute campaigns.  

The Aaron’s data team manages more than 250 automations and more than 600 data extensions to support our marketing team. Aaron’s marketers directly manage over 25 multi-step journeys covering everything including retargeting, customer satisfaction, sales campaigns, surveys and more.

Finally, we leverage built-in AI capabilities through send-time optimization and customer engagement prediction scoring. These tools help us drive higher engagement while carefully managing deliverability to customer inboxes.

What plans do you have for 2024?

Aaron’s continues to execute on key real estate initiatives like converting and/or opening new GenNext and Hub and Showroom locations to optimize our footprint and to improve the efficiency and cost structure of our operations. We plan to expand into additional markets and will be looking to our Salesforce investments to drive growth through sales and marketing efforts in these new and existing store locations.

Headquartered in Atlanta, The Aaron's Company brands include Aaron's, BrandsMart U.S.A. and BrandsMart Leasing (Aaron’s acquired BrandsMart in 2022). Aaron’s offers a direct-to-consumer lease-to-own solution through its approximately 1,260 company-operated and franchised stores in 47 states and Canada, as well as its e-commerce platform. 

BrandsMart U.S.A. operates with 10 retail stores in Florida and Georgia, as well as its e-commerce platform.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds