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True Religion Expands Into China; Launches Customer Loyalty Program

China is the latest act in True Religion’s comeback story. 

True Religion announced Thursday its expansion into China with partner Aurorae Group, owner of Evisu Group. 

The denim brand plans to open a mix of 65 freestanding stores and shop-in-shops by 2026 and grow that number to 108 by 2028. True Religion estimates that the Chinese market will represent 10 percent of its global brand volume by 2026.

“Expansion into the Chinese market has been on our roadmap for the past several years, so we are very excited about our partnership with the fantastic team at Aurorae Group,” said Michael Buckley, True Religion CEO. “The right partner is key to success in China, and Aurorae’s proven local market expertise will enable us to successfully grow True Religion’s presence throughout mainland China as well as in Hong Kong and Macau.”

Aurorae Group is the exclusive distributor in China for Globetrotter and Off-White. Its flagship, Evisu, has more than 350 global points of sale, of which 185 are standalone retail stores.

“We are looking forward to introducing True Religion to a new wave of Chinese consumers and leveraging our comprehensive relationships and extensive retail networks in Asia to bring the brand to unprecedented new heights,” said David Pun, Evisu Group chairman and CEO.

In addition to physical retail, the partnership expands True Religion’s e-commerce presence in China. Tmall, JD, Douyin and Dewu, among others, will soon offer True Religion merchandise. 

As the exclusive distributor in China for True Religion, Aurorae Group will have the rights to sell the full range of True Religion’s assortment, including core denim, heritage products, and collaboration. It will also develop licensed product across men’s, women’s, children’s apparel and accessories specifically designed for the Chinese market, and “collaborate with locally important partners and talents.”

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Loyalty rewards

Last week the Y2K brand launched True Fam, a three-tiered program that rewards loyal shoppers with discounts, exclusive perks and a personalized shopping experience.

The brand calls the loyalty program “an important milestone in a series of strategic initiatives transforming True Religion into a digital-first direct-to-consumer brand.”

True Religion said True Fam gives it “the opportunity to develop a deeper relationship with its consumers while also increasing customer lifetime value” and plays a key role in its efforts to evolve into a primarily DTC business. The brand aims to have a $250 million e-commerce business over the next four years.

Customer retention is a priority. “Our new True Fam loyalty program will allow us to maximize customer retention and customer lifetime value, both of which are essential to True Religion’s continued growth,” said Buckley.

The name of True Fam tiers nod to True Religion’s connection to music. Shoppers unlock more valuable rewards as they reach new loyalty levels.

Customers who sign up for Opening Act receive one point per dollar spent, a 15 percent welcome discount, a $10 off birthday reward and early access to sales. 

The second tier, Headliner, is achieved when shoppers spend $200 per year. Headliner status offers 1.25 points for each dollar spent, a 20 percent off welcome discount, a $15 off birthday reward, a $20 off anniversary discount as well as early access to sales, member-only sales and True Religion’s annual sales event.

The third tier, Icon, is achieved when shoppers spend $400 annually. Icon members earn 1.5 points for each dollar spent, a 25 percent off welcome discount, a $20 off birthday reward and a $25 off anniversary discount. Members also receive early access to sales.

Members can earn and redeem points across all consumer touchpoints, including in-store, online, and through the brand’s recently launched mobile app. The points can be used toward additional savings, a rep said.

Customers will have access to their member profile page where they can check their points balance and points redeemed. In-app notifications will advise shoppers on special offers and ways to earn points. True Fam members can also earn points by following True Religion on social media channels, writing reviews, and joining its VIP list.

The program was developed with consumer data platform Lexer and Yotpo, a loyalty strategy platform. It was tested by Zurb, a product development company, with current and prospective True Religion consumers.