PROFILE

Chuck Ehredt

CEO, Currency Alliance

Charles (Chuck) Ehredt is a seasoned entrepreneur and problem solver who built a career on turning business challenges into opportunities by aligning people with the right technologies. Now the CEO and co-founder of Currency Alliance, Chuck oversees a new way for international brands to collaborate through loyalty initiatives, so they can affordably capture a spectrum of customer insights that ensure better personalization and maximum lifetime value. As a serial entrepreneur, Chuck has launched 12 companies across multiple sectors and has helped fund 23 as an angel investor.

Chuck has also invested in 23 companies as a business angel investor and remains active as a mentor and coach for early stage companies or mature businesses trying to find their new product-market fit.

More information can be found at www.currencyalliance.com or linkedin.com/in/charles-ehredt

Serial entrepreneur at the convergence of FinTech and Marketing.
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  • Posted on: 01/19/2022

    NRF 2022: Albertsons’ CEO sees frequency driving grocery loyalty

    Grocery absolutely works differently than other retail categories because of frequency and basket size. Customers tend to build a close association with one preferred grocery store/supermarket - because of convenience, experience, perceived value, or the benefits of the loyalty program (or a combination of these). As grocery stores have modified their business model in the past 10 years to also be relevant for lunch or to quickly pick up three things that were missed in the last big shopping excursion, the frequency has even increased. In addition, many customers care a lot about the food they eat and will choose a supplier (partner) that delivers the desired level of breadth and quality in selection. So, while the loyalty is built based on cumulative experience with all brand touchpoints, as well as perceived value, I believe grocery retailers can go further in engaging customers by building more partnerships in a dynamic ecosystem that can serve more of the needs customers have each month - to influence where that discretionary spending takes place. The result of such an online/offline/hybrid ecosystem (virtual and physical marketplace) is much greater customer insight based on spending across many categories, and the ability to deliver much more interesting rewards for the customer behavior exhibited.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2022

    Reality hits omnichannel retail with a hard truth

    I agree that customers don't care which entity is involved in delivering each touchpoint in a customer journey, but brands should. That does not mean the brand has to control/employ the personnel delivering the service, but brands need to make sure the right framework is in place so they can retain control of what really matters. That means the customer relationship is to the brand and does not end up being with the outsourced service providers. The CRM makes sure the brand is capturing the rich customer insight that comes from each touchpoint so they can improve personalization over time. And there is a focus on revenue/EBITDA so the brand is maximizing its business potential via economies of scale. After all, you can get very different customer experiences from different employees in the same company, so standardizing around best practices (possibly provided by third parties) should lead to improvement as long as the right framework is in place.
  • Posted on: 01/03/2022

    Are Nike’s Member Days loyalty’s future?

    Other brands should absolutely pay attention to Nike's efforts and methods of engaging customers. What is often ignored is that loyal customers want to be recognized above all else. This is why many loyalty programs have tier levels - which provide access to additional benefits. Nike's Member Days are a great way to recognize member loyalty with access to exclusive content and offers. Loyalty points are not necessary when the value proposition and recurring customer experience are good (or better than "good"). Of course, a points-based program can be a powerful tool in keeping score, so appropriate recognition and access to customized services can be delivered.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2021

    Can loyalty programs ease supply chain blues this holiday season?

    These types of suggestions are precisely why customers should be motivated to join loyalty programs in the first place. For most brands, the vast majority of their customers are not active in their loyalty program, so using this benefit could be a way to extend membership and drive more activity. Of course for out-of-stock items, good communications with program members and priority allocation of inventory can be a way to reduce tensions around scarce goods. Thanks Jenn for sharing.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2021

    Will paid perks pay off for Williams Sonoma?

    Subscription programs are a good way to increase share of wallet with customers because anyone who pays wants to maximize their benefits. I´m sure Williams & Sonoma tested the market to ensure enough customers would want to join, so this is probably a good move. However I caution other retailers from following suit because how many subscriptions can a customer maintain (beyond our mobile phone bill, internet access, Amazon Prime, the gym, etc.) - and how quickly will those be abandoned if the economy turns south?
  • Posted on: 11/04/2021

    Are the cards stacked against small and medium sized retailers?

    Well-run smaller retailers will be fine because they are more engaged with their customers and understand local preferences. The supply chain issues will be solved, but the labor issues will likely go on indefinitely - which means treating your colleagues well is key to long-term retention. Smaller retailers can also do more in the context of shop local campaigns to appeal to shoppers who care about their community.
  • Posted on: 11/04/2021

    Will linked loyalty programs turn Dick’s and Nike into an unbeatable force?

    I believe this will be advantageous for both brands as they can collaborate more to meet customer expectations and elevate experiences. Many customers still need a physical store to see product and Dick's has locations where Nike would never be able to justify a competing location. So I believe this is good for customers, and just how good it will be for the brands depends on the degree of their collaboration. With Nike cutting many retailers, they should be able to double down on supporting those they keep.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2021

    Will physical and digital retail operations perform better on their own?

    Most businesses perform best when optimized for their environment. The physical store and online platforms are quite different, so require different skills, staffing, and quite a few of the technologies. Of course, common systems for inventory management should be used, but I do believe companies will perform better by separating the teams - and possibly the companies.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2021

    Is the privacy paradox being resolved?

    The paradox is related to what question is being asked of the consumers. Yet this is a complicated and important topic for companies because they do need to improve how they protect the data they collect, while striving to collect more of the data that helps them deliver a better customer experience. In our experience, about 70 percent of customers will share more data in exchange for greater value or better experience - yet those same customers are increasingly aware of security concerns. As awareness grows, customers will be more careful about which brands are allowed access to their data - which is precisely why brands need to up their game in protecting it. One security breach can destroy a lifetime of building trust with many customers (albeit not all).
  • Posted on: 09/29/2021

    Best Buy says ‘relax, we’ve got you’

    This is simply excellent marketing on the part of Best Buy. They know that competitors sell many of the same items, but usually with no (or terrible) service. The customer buying many of the more sophisticated items at Best Buy can have a significant degree of anxiety - so this messaging gets those people to pay a premium for reduced anxiety.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2021

    Will Kohl’s be known for something other than its retail partners?

    Businesses with the reach and breadth of Kohl's are becoming platforms, so adding brands that attract customers is a natural extension of such a marketplace. Ms. Gass may be under pressure for not meeting investor expectations, but at least she sees how the market is evolving and various potential roles for Kohl's to play in the new landscape.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2021

    What’s the ideal age to start a retail business?

    I don´t believe there is a best age to start a new business, but the ability to make the best decisions often comes from cumulative experience - so people who have built up the relevant experience will have an edge. What is more important is to have the right idea and business model. Younger entrepreneurs may be less locked into traditional approaches of doing business, so their ability to find a clever new approach that stands out in the market may be more possible. And, of course, few good or great businesses have ever been built with a great deal of passion. Therefore the entrepreneur needs to be committed to something that creates value for customers - and then they are off to the races.
  • Posted on: 08/19/2021

    Do downtown shopping districts need their own loyalty programs?

    Any group of complementary businesses should consider collaborating to co-create more value for customers. Downtown Loyalty Programs may be the epitome of complementary businesses. The key to long-term success is fairness to all stakeholders, a unit of measure (points) that have real economic value and are stable over time, and the technology cost (vendor) is cheap (i.e. about 0.02%-0.04% of sales). We can deliver the technology at this cost, but often local politics and turf battles get in the way of execution. There needs to be strong leadership and then these programs can be remarkably powerful and drive immediate results.
  • Posted on: 08/18/2021

    Should grocery stores retire the ethnic aisle?

    Organizing food selection by cultural cooking style is very helpful for customers. It is probably time to retire the word "ethnic" from the description because is implies negative connotations for some people, but organizing food types by global regions should stay.
  • Posted on: 08/18/2021

    Will new cash-back cards deliver healthy returns for Walgreens?

    This is not an investment by Walgreens. They will make a lot of money from the co-branded card operator (bank) and get a lot of useful insight about customer spend outside Walgreens. What is open for debate is how many people will take them up on the new cards (aren´t people who actually pay their bills already inundated with payment methods), and will they be able to put all the new data to profitable use? You can´t build loyalty with a loyalty program, points, or other gimmicks. Loyalty is primarily based on the customer's overall perceived value from the brand, and their cumulative experience interacting across all touchpoints with the brand. If those are broken, new cards will have a minor impact on the business.

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