Skip to main content

Exclusive Q&A: Ollie’s Bargain Outlet digitally drives store traffic

Ollie's Bargain Outlet store
Ollie's Bargain Outlet is digitally driving customers to stores.

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is expanding a successful pilot of using mobile and social media technology to boost store engagement and sales.

Chain Store Age recently interviewed Tom Kuypers, senior VP of marketing and advertising, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, about how the rapidly growing close-out retailer partnered with digital marketing platform Kargo to target customers with mobile and social media ads designed to get them to visit local stores.

Ollie’s operates an informational website, but does not perform e-commerce.

Why did Ollie’s Bargain Outlet decide to utilize digital marketing for these two stores?

We launched digital advertising for the chain several years ago, and have been continuing to grow that presence. In terms of this particular project, Ollie's is opening about 50 to 55 stores per year, and Texas is a relatively new market for us where people don't know who we are.

[Read more: Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Q1 earnings, sales rise; lifts outlook; opening 44 stores]

Ollie’s followed the hypothesis that if we put an additional layer of marketing in place in Texas, we could drive additional brand awareness and therefore, foot traffic. It's model that we are planning on using in other markets as well, so Texas was really a test for us.

The pilot of the Kargo mobile advertising solution started in September 2022  and ran through January 2023.

How exactly does the Kargo solution work?

The solution mostly rendered animated mobile display ads leveraging the traditional 320x50 banner slot. Ollie’s is able to target consumers based on their intent and some of their mobile searches, plus their geolocation if they are near one of our stores.

We are able to show our products and a digital circular on consumer mobile devices. It’s a cool immersive experience for the consumer. The ad shows up as a banner and the customer can click into it and it expands.

Because our products change on a regular basis, we're able to change out those products within that digital circular in real time.

How are you using social media to drive foot traffic to stores?

Ollie’s advertises through the Meta social media properties Facebook and Instagram in partnership with Kargo. We build a digital flyer that is made available to consumers through those channels, as well. It also drives to our digital flyer on our website. Customers can page through different products in the digital circular.

But if they want more information, they can click through and it goes to our website, where we have our digital flyer housed in full that might have hundreds of products. We don’t necessarily show hundreds of products in the digital flyer on a social site. The flyer is hosted through a third party, but we use Kargo capabilities to drive customers to it.

Can you provide some metrics on how this program has performed?

We saw a significant 7% lift in sales at the two test stores. Ollie’s was able to statistically prove with about a 95% confidence level, that this lift was a result of the digital advertising that we layered on.

The program has also been very profitable from a return on ad spend (ROAS) perspective. It is a cost-effective method.

Are you rolling this program out to additional stores.

Texas was a test for us. Now, there are 63 stores across the country that we consider newer locations and newer markets. We are rolling out this program and some other marketing initiatives at those stores.


This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds