Historically, RPG (Retail Prodigy Group) facilitated in-store launches for limited release Nike sneakers, to allow their members equal opportunity to purchase. With the changing requirements of retail due to Covid-19, an online solution became crucial for RPG to continue to facilitate Nike sneaker launches for their members. The challenge for retail brands selling highly sought-after, limited release products online is the risk of security breaches by programs created to target and snap up their inventory as soon as a product drops.RPG needed a digital solution for product launches that would be secure from these technologies, and continue to allow their members equal opportunity to purchase the sneakers on the launch date.
We partnered with RPG to develop a custom online raffle system for their high heat product launches.We first designed and built componentised eDM templates for raffle announcements, and winner emails. The templates were built up of individual, reusable components to provide some flexibility for the announcement emails, as various high heat product launches often require different levels of storytelling, with varied product assets available.We then designed and built the custom form, to capture raffle submissions. Knowing that the raffle announcement emails would only be sent out to the RPG membership database, we needed to ensure the form would only be available to those members, to allow them first access to these products.One advantage we had, which many other online raffles don’t, is that we were working with a closed membership database. So we needed to use that membership information in an innovative way to recognise legitimate members.Therefore we used a combination of pre-populated and hidden form fields, to not only prevent non-members or online bots from being able to submit the form, but also to allow us to clean the submission data after the raffle closed to remove any invalid entries prior to drawing the winners.
To create the level of security required for a robust, members only raffle system, we implemented the following features on the raffle form itself.
When members clicked through from the announcement email to the raffle form, their email address was base64 encoded in the URL of the form, and this then pre-populated their email address in the form.
The encoding was done so that users wouldn’t easily identify their email address in the form URL and see this as a way to manipulate the form data.
We set up an additional security measure where the form did not load for a user if their email address had already been used to enter the raffle, and they saw an ‘already entered’ message instead. This was to prevent users entering multiple times, or creating bots which would put excessive strain on the system and potentially bring it down (or lead to increased bandwidth costs).
We also passed a hidden CRMID (Salesforce ID, connected to each RPG member in the Salesforce database), with the form entries and saved this to the raffle entry data. This was not displayed on the form, so would not have been obvious to users that this was being passed. However once the raffle closed, we ran the raffle entry data through a cleansing process that not only validated if the submitted email address was part of the RPG Salesforce database, but also verified that the CRMID and email address matched to a single user in the database too.
Together with RPG, we ran over 30 raffles within the first six months of launching this new system.Across all raffles, fewer than 10 invalid entries in total needed to be removed during the data cleansing process at the conclusion of each raffle. This suggests that the security measures implemented on the form itself served their purpose to limit entries to RPG members only.More importantly, all units of these high heat products were sold to loyal RPG members. Reinforcing the benefits of membership, and rewarding the database in a way that many other online raffle systems are unable to achieve.