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Powering Experiential at Scale with AnyRoad

Michaels Stores, is America’s largest retailer of arts and crafts materials. Partnering with AnyRoad, they have used data to scale their experience program to 20,000 online and in-store classes a year.

Michaels Stores

Powering Experiential at Scale with AnyRoad


Building a foundation for a marketing experiences program at scale


Experiences delivered annually


Recognized key time & cost savings


Outpaced the competition to become an industry leader for in-store and virtual experiences


Scaling Experiential to 20,000 Experiences in 12 months


Founded in 1973, The Michaels Companies, Inc. is North America’s largest retailer of arts and crafts materials, empowering Makers of all ages to express their imaginations with skill and originality. For decades, Michaels has served do-it-yourselfers with all the supplies and know-how required to tackle a vast range of projects. But for those not in the know, Michaels commitment to its customers goes even further.

“At Michaels, we’re here for our creative customers — the Makers — who make the world brighter and more meaningful. We strive to put our Makers at the center of everything we do because they make us matter; they make us Michaels. It’s our goal to make each customer experience exceptional. Every. Single. Time.”

In fact, some might say Michaels is less a craft store and more an advocate for the Maker community. And that’s what makes Michaels so special — they are not merely a chain of supplies stores, but rather a source of knowledge, fun, and inspiration. By consistently seeking new ways to reach and engage new and long-time customers, Michaels has established a reputation as a brand for and by the creative community.

Their Community Classroom program has been a focus of the business for the past few years and has grown exponentially through in-store and online classes. To date, more than 400,000 Makers have signed up for their classes.

The evolution of Michaels Community Classroom to a robust, multichannel program capable of engaging Makers both online and in-person didn’t happen overnight. Prior to partnering with AnyRoad, the Michaels team had an existing program that was confined to in-store only. 

Understand. Improve. Scale.

Understand. Improve. Scale.

Upon working with AnyRoad the Michaels team had 5 key objectives that needed to be addressed:

  • Gather actionable, first-party data from their consumers
  • Capture data on their content and class instructors
  • Facilitate locally-sourced content
  • Drive efficiency and reduce store workload
  • Build a thriving brand community at scale


Beginning as a pilot in November 2018, Michaels and AnyRoad partnered to create a robust, omnichannel community content program. The process for creating this program encompassed five focus areas:

  • Understanding What Moves the Makers: AnyRoad and Michaels began by forming an understanding of their end users. Through uncovering key demographic and behavioral insights, the teams were able to dial in the types of content the Maker Community valued most. With this data-driven foundation, Michaels was able to create a recipe that could scale these to its 1,250 stores.
  • Build a Community of Makers for Makers During the pilot, the Michaels team continued to surface insights and gain a better understanding of the Maker Community. For example, they discovered that classes led by Makers had higher engagement and a more positive impact on brand sentiment than employee-led classes. They also realized they could broaden their class offerings to a long tail of topics by enlisting specialists from the community.

    As a result, the Michaels team fundamentally shifted their approach to Community programming, scaling the pilot to all Michaels locations by March 2019. In turn, this approach gave the Makers control of the classes and the content presented in-store.
  • Streamline Operations In 2020, as the program scaled, Michaels and AnyRoad continued to enhance the experience for consumers and staff. First, the team leveraged AnyRoad Marketplace, to launch a streamlined Instructor Portal for instructors to self-manage classes and schedules. Second, all classes were listed on a new Experience Calendar which replaced an existing manual calendar solution and third a new online registration system was put in place for birthday parties.

    Collectively these improvements reduced the administrative burden on Michaels staff and saved up to 500 hours of operational work per month. The booking system for private parties improved the customer experience and had the added benefit of increasing the average spend per booking by 30%.
  • Maximize Reach Building a community of Makers required the Michaels team to focus on scale. This meant establishing a crucial balance between content quality and quantity and designing a program with broad appeal. Across different markets, the Michaels team had to continually identify the most successful content and seek out ways to make these classes repeatable for more customers.

    The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this challenge but also created an opportunity for Michaels to increase reach by developing their online classes. Because of the groundwork laid as part of the original four objectives, Michaels and AnyRoad were able to quickly stand up a successful, targeted online program that continues to grow.
  • Refine the Experience With more data and insights on the program, the Michaels team has been able to iterate and refine the program. This has translated into significant success, including: Increasing registration and attendance rates, Continuing to define and refine key performance indicators (KPIs), Maintaining a Net Promoter Score (NPS) above 70, Achieving positive Brand Conversion of 70% or higher, Reaching a 4-star rating or higher for 90% of instructors.

Focus Areas

Focus Areas

Upon working with AnyRoad the Michaels team was able to:


Working with AnyRoad, Michaels was able to reimagine their in-store classes, optimize the experience with data and insights and launch an online class program that has become a viral success. The company recognized key time and cost savings, which could be reinvested in other marketing activities. Just as important, Michaels was able to build the foundation of a marketing experience program that could seamlessly transition to digital, allowing them to support Makers in spite of a global health crisis.

By streamlining event scheduling, accessing and analyzing core performance data, and moving quickly, Michaels has scaled their program to 20,000 experiences per year and outpaced the competition to become an industry leader for both in-store and online experiences.

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