Case Study Influencer

Affiliate Cross-Channel Strategy Steps Up Post-Pandemic Foot Traffic

The Challenge

Rack Room Shoes hoped to celebrate more than just its 100-year anniversary in 2022. The beloved American footwear retailer was intent on bolstering in-store sales without sacrificing its online store success.

Since 2020, the brand had optimized its online shopping experience to capitalize on the surge in web-based shopping, resulting in consistently healthy online sales. In the second half of 2022, the company prioritized augmenting this success by recapturing consumers who were slowly returning to in-store shopping. However, it quickly learned that its chief competitors had the same aspirations.

With more than 500 stores, Rack Room Shoes needed a strategy to entice shoppers into its brick-and-mortar locations to complement its online success. The brand came to Tinuiti in the second half of 2022 with three goals:

Tinuiti helped us increase in-store foot traffic without sacrificing the progress we’d made in our online shopping space. Incorporating Tinuiti’s Affiliate strategies helped us stitch together our online and offline channels, leading to success in our critical business goals.

Rosaland Jones
Digital Marketing Director, Rack Room Shoes


Cross-Channel Affiliate Campaign, July—December 2022


average daily lift in activations


impressions in and near malls nationwide


of all purchases happened in-store in December

How We Did It

Tinuiti’s core strategy focused on leveraging Affiliate marketing to bolster sales using Rakuten’s Card Linked Offer Network (RCLON). This channel, which rewards its more than 200 million highly-engaged users with cash back for making a Rakuten-linked purchase, was perfect for reaching Rack Room Shoes’ target demographic of in-store shoppers. Tinuiti started by organizing Rack Room Shoes placements in Rakuten newsletters, holiday gift guides, and seasonal landing pages with offers that drove both in-store and online traffic.

To extend reach and engagement, Tinuiti leveraged a partnership with American Express – promoting cash back through Rakuten when purchasers used their Amex cards. By adding Amex as a card-linked vendor, monthly sales increased by 3.5 times. Amex purchases now represent about 34% of the Rakuten partners’ in-store sales volume.

Finally, to capitalize on the return to in-person holiday shopping, Tinuiti implemented a geotargeting campaign in late December after the holiday shipping cut-off date. The mission was to entice procrastinators in-store once it was too late to have presents shipped via online purchases. The campaign sent mobile SMS pushes to Rakuten shoppers when they entered the vicinity of a Rack Room Shoes store, presenting an exclusive offer for an in-store purchase (e.g., $10 off $89). The message had a 5.14% open rate and contributed to a significant boost in in-store shopping, with 33% of all December sales occurring offline.

Rack Room Shoes not only closed the year with sizable lifts in revenue, traffic, and new customers but also forged a better understanding of the vast reach that Affiliate marketing has to offer.

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