PROFILE

David Slavick

Co-Founder & Partner

Ascendant Loyalty, LLC

Loyalty marketing experts laser-focused on helping consumer-focused, middle-market companies efficiently and effectively improve customer retention.

We strategically pinpoint unique opportunities and customize a loyalty product/service solution to precisely meet your needs. No more. No less.

Multi-channel retail marketing expert leveraging data insight to drive strategic planning, communications/ offer management, customer loyalty program design, in-depth analytic skills, highly accountable execution and operational components. Led large teams in the development and sustained innovation for CRM/Loyalty programs while at Accenture Interactive/Digital Retail, FTD Companies, Sears Holdings and American Eagle Outfitters. Specialties: Assessing technology infrastructure and gaps to solve for limitations and constraints in 1:1 relationship marketing. Strategic planning and analysis to drive incremental profitable return on investment from valued customer segments. Deliver practical recommendations that are actionable based on extensive experience in the CRM/Loyalty discipline. Lead with Six Sigma project management discipline in order to meet/exceed timelines/expectations.
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  • Posted on: 09/14/2021

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

    You are so right! It's called borrowed interest. Stand for something. Give value to your shoppers that is unique and differentiated vs. the competition. These partnerships are a desperate attempt to add freshness and yes convenience for their shoppers, but what does the BRAND stand for? Amazon drop-off? Getting HBA goods from another brand during a department store shopping experience? Next time you shop a Kohl's, which department truly delights you? Which department is so well supported by signage, display, product array that you just say to yourself "this is awesome"? NONE!
  • Posted on: 07/26/2021

    Macy’s should have stayed local

    As a native Chicagoan, yes there is such a thing as in born and raised in the city. I spent many days at my mom's side while she shopped the downtown Field's store or the one in Old Orchard. My treat ... frango mints! Honestly, it is so easy to say corporate should have kept the banners post acquisition. There was a reason the old got acquired -- they were weak. Consolidating brands under one entity and one credit card + co-brand strategy was smart. What was LOST was personal clientelling and service. What was missed is compensating your employees on the floor of the store and giving them the training to be the best. Every store is local. It is the job ONE of the GM, Assistant GM plus department leads to inspire and deliver on customer expectations. Sure there was "upset" at the loss of the MF name in many circles and talk of boycott even. Pure silliness. Macy's is our national department store brand and their "struggles" are not rooted in acquisition. It is the changing shopping dynamic and other factors we all know so well.
  • Posted on: 05/21/2021

    Are student loan repayments the next big perk in retailer loyalty programs?

    There is no harm in trying different things. As shared, some ideas work for certain segments of the chain's customer base. It is new news. It is trial, learn, refine and continue to innovate. Are some of these new "benefits" going to become primary or a replacement for two-tier pricing ($19.99 for crab legs as a member vs. $29.99 for non-members)? No. Guarantee the ratings for the "standard" design remain high, but sure why not give me choices, options and more -- for free the member will always say yes. Now will they actually engage in all of these new additive aspects? Yes - those who find it relevant and meaningful. Likewise, it is up to the program owner to communicate and highlight those benefits on a consistent basis vs. the usual launch and forget it.
  • Posted on: 03/05/2021

    Regional retail chains have the highest rated loyalty programs

    First off this Newsweek "analysis" is laughable. I mean come on, rating hundreds of brands that have some form of rewards or recognition and then calling them out as "best" in America. It is a list with recognition that a program exists. In regards to the question posed it is obvious to experts that build these programs that if you have a weak funding rate you receive "a low score." Being regional and being "nimble" has ZERO impact on what you design and implement. There are plenty of sharp minds at the big chains in any one category that know exactly how to frame a tier based reward system giving "more" to valued shoppers and less to splitters or clearance buyers, for example. Or giving "more" to shoppers who have their PLCC or co-brand credit card. It is all about financial modeling, the projection of incremental lift, key performance metrics that align by tier/value segment and how you allocate the funding rate across the tiers as well as your promotional design throughout the year.
  • Posted on: 03/05/2021

    Regional retail chains have the highest rated loyalty programs

    Correct, the value proposition is key. The shopper or consumer can "smell" a lousy funding rate and in turn not be motivated to behave incrementally, shift their spend and in the case of this Newsweek rating analysis rank certain brands lower.
  • Posted on: 03/05/2021

    Regional retail chains have the highest rated loyalty programs

    Correct on all aspects!
  • Posted on: 12/05/2020

    Was Black Friday a bust?

    Let's face it and state the obvious, Black Friday is "inside baseball." It is a term coined by C-Suite execs. Then it infested the lexicon by the media picking up on it. The advertising practice of "borrowed interest" applies somewhat in the sense that without any creative sweat being applied, advertisers ruined the excitement of true deals leading into the peak of Holiday shopping by running Black Friday sales in July! Seriously July or October ... to what, get a head start on deals that will clear come your way in November and December? Access to product, convenience of at-home shopping, personal shoppers and yes, deals on shipping to save on expense, clearly dilute the intensity of one-of-a-kind deals the day after Thanksgiving where theoretically retailers P&L turns "green" or from red to black. Who ever thought a finance focus on EBITDA, OIBIDA or simply ROI would become a shopper's focus point? Long live creativity in advertising, modeling, segmentation and personalization to deliver value to loyal shoppers regardless of the day on the calendar. Happy Holidays!
  • Posted on: 09/10/2020

    Walmart pilots its way into the drone delivery race

    I'd suggest starting this off in cities with a very calm weather pattern and very little wind. I'd also suggest that whomever is assigned to packing the bags does a really good job of balancing the cans, jars and fruit to not tip the drone. Lastly, it will be a long time if ever before my city, the Windy City, will be part of the rollout. ;-)
  • Posted on: 09/01/2020

    Grocers shift gears as stimulus stalemate tightens consumer spending

    Before the pandemic hit grocers were fighting the big box stores for share of market. Nothing has changed. Consumers counting on $600 in stimulus or consumers preferring to eat at home (or having to eat at home due to lockdown) all need milk, bread and eggs. It is up to large chains (Kroger, Albertsons, Publix) or more nimble mid-tier chains (Hy-Vee, Festival, Bashas, Raley's et. al.) to leverage their new found relationship with newly identified shoppers and find out their preferences, and how best to satisfy their weekly needs. They are paying big bucks to consultants for insights on promotional co-op to drive traffic and yet discounting has been significantly reduced while profits/margins are way up. Time for a new grocery optimization model that leverages data/insight to lift total basket - purchases in high margin adjacencies - bakery, fresh food, organics, health and beauty.
  • Posted on: 08/07/2020

    Has there ever been a better time to build or kill customer loyalty?

    There are two considerations here. One, are loyalty programs or recognition and reward programs of greater interest now than they were pre-COVID-19? The answer is a resounding YES. I have seen the data. Participation rates up. Digital engagement up. Sales from members, especially new online behavior up. Because of the pandemic shoppers who happen to be members are not going to as many places to fill out their list and satisfy needs. Do you do things differently than before? YES. Simply saying do personalization better or improve the online shopping experience is not nearly enough. In regards to the second point I agree, need to do better. But let's be reasonable here and put ourselves in the shoes of business operators in this crazy world we are experiencing. Out-of-stocks have existed for decades. Issues with returns have as well. Customer complaints are rising, and it's no surprise they are frustrated at so many more things in their daily lives than ever before. Call center volume has skyrocketed. Managing customer or member expectations is key. Always saying yes and showing empathy is important as well.
  • Posted on: 07/23/2020

    Is there a path to profitable grocery delivery?

    Shocking that grocery sector remains constrained in these three areas. What are they paying for?
  • Posted on: 06/30/2020

    Will Nike’s digital drive build stronger ‘one-to-one’ relationships with consumers?

    Nike is a highly regarded brand, with high awareness and affinity, and has built this strength over time. They have the leadership and expertise to accomplish it. I believe that there are levels of offline and online engagement that can be accomplished. Every business case differs based on current state capabilities, business metrics and to what extent 1:1 relationships with shoppers, consumers and advocates is valued. If you have nothing, get something. If you see weakness in your current solutions and tools - assess it and solve for it. If you don't know how to build a business case, hire someone to to help you. Digital engagement is the future. Better to get there sooner vs. kicking the can down the road.
  • Posted on: 06/09/2020

    Loyalty marketing is at a crossroads

    Consumers today are motivated by convenience, safe shopping experiences and quality. They seek dependable service, delivery, and ease of pick-up process. These factors are clearly in response to the pandemic. Getting cost savings or bonus value for purchase is less important in today's environment. Brand values and messaging to program members is central to success - not transactional relationships. Members expect personalization at the "person" level. Importantly, loyalty is enabled by store associates who are well trained, embrace the brand attitude and deliver outstanding service to valued shoppers every business day.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2020

    Can outdoor dining save restaurants?

    Warm desert climates? In Arizona or Palm Springs with dry heat I think it is attractive, and even here in Chicago where it was 94 yesterday!
  • Posted on: 06/03/2020

    Can outdoor dining save restaurants?

    Cities need to be adaptable and change their health and safety policies. They also need to relax the process and improve the turnaround in order to enable restaurants to build out outdoor seating concepts. In many cities it takes way too long to go from the application to approval. Likewise, in many cities the operator has to pay separate fees to offer it. Outdoor dining, cafe and alternate experiences are highly satisfying. Make it the norm, and make it not so difficult to implement and support operationally.
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