You are a coffee or bakery chain – or maybe a convenience retailer on a journey toward “foodvenience” growing your fresh food-to-go offering and sales by every quarter. You are considering to launch a customer program in the near future – or to upgrade your existing one. You are looking for ideas, inspiration and advice. We would certainly like to help guide you and share what we believe are the right building blocks for your customer program.
WHAT WE BELIEVE IN
We believe you are every-day relevant to your customers. With your food, hot and cold beverages you are relevant in multiple meal occasions – every day. Your most important customers are those that visit you often. You want every customer to come more often or put differently; to come back sooner. Research show that the higher frequency of purchase, the larger life-time value of a customer. The main characteristic of the few customers that makes up 80% of your volume is higher frequency of purchase. These are the customers you should have top of mind when you design your customer program.
We believe that you are positioned to build a large and engaged own digital distribution and that this will become a strategic asset for you. You need to make sure you own the customer data. This starts with making sure customers give you the necessary consents.
We recommend to launch an app as the main channel for communication as apps enable truly engaging content and a rich 1:1 dialogue. However you should also use SMS and e-mail to support your app program. We also recommend you to closely link advertising in paid media as well as engagement activities in social media with your app program. Activities that you do on print can also be powerful and help drive app downloads and activity.
We believe coupons can help you drive traffic to store. However, you may find our approach on couponing different. We have created multiple campaign templates that allows you to “gamify” your campaigns and basically make the coupons much more interesting and attractive to consumers. We believe in gamification. It´s not just price and product, but also how you promote your offers. We believe your program needs to stand out from the rest! We can help. And in some cases our coupon mechanics effectively help you protect price and margin, which is always good for business.
We believe in personalisation. Our dashboards allow you to execute 1:1 engagement – at scale. With campaign templates we enable digital marketing capabilities that you do not have today. We believe these capabilities will be instrumental in your ability to create an engaging customer program and at the same time run an efficient customer program operation.
Lets explore what your customer program would look like across the customer journey. The coloured circles below refer to our concepts. Consider them as available building blocks to design your program.
We recommend that you give instant gratification, a sign-up reward, when customers complete registration in your app. You should also allow your app users to promote your app with an easy-to-use recruit-a-friend function. Use also paid media and social media activities to recruit to your customer program. But this is not enough.
Your stores are your most effective channel for recruiting new members to your customer program and this is where you need to put in place systemic recruiting mechanics. In-store collaterals and store employee engagement is obviously important, but execution consistency is always challenging. Thus, it´s not systemic. Recruit on wifi-login is however a systemic mechanic. Another, and more powerful, is to recruit from the payment terminal. Consider this customer experience:
As I enter my card in the payment terminal the display asks me to connect my mobile number with this card. I type in my mobile number and the link is made. I get an SMS from the brand:
“Click on this link to opt in and start collecting stamps. We give stamps every time you buy coffee and pay with your registered card. Click here to download our app. You will get a free coffee instantly as sign-up reward.”
I accept the T&C, but I am in a rush and I do not download the app at this point. The next time I buy coffee I use the same card. The transaction is captured and I collect another stamp. The brand´s stamp card is every 7th coffee for free and once I have purchased 6 coffees the free coffee is issued to my member profile as a separate reward – valid for 1 month. Since I have not yet downloaded the app, but given consent via SMS communication, an SMS is automatically sent to me.
“Congratulations! You have earned a free coffee 🙂 Follow this link to download and register with our app to use your reward.”
This is a systemic and powerful way to recruit to your customer program. It´s easy for customers to register and automatically collect stamps and your communication is focused on value. With use of the payment terminal and automatic communication you have ensured consistency in execution across all your stores.
ENGAGE – ONBOARD
Automate the communication you have with your new members to ensure they get engaged with your program and become fans as quickly as possible. Use automation to set rules for what should happen on day 1, day 5, day 10 etc given specific conditions like for example that the new member has not yet redeemed any coupons in store.
Rules can use all promote, reward and engage mechanics. For example you can automate issue of unique coupons or you can use survey to capture more customer information like in this case. Make sure also to use push notifications extensively during the on-boarding phase. According to Urban Airship it is a strong correlation between notification frequency and app retention rates. Apps that send one or more push notifications a day have 90-day app retention rates that are 3x higher on IOS and 10x higher on Android than apps that send none. Using automation with us allows you to do this 1:1 – at scale – in an efficient way.
Push notifications are key to drive app openings. However, awesome customer programs are also driving app openings by design. Consider to use daily specials and weekend specials to educate your app users to proactively open the app to see what´s new today.
PROMOTE: GET THEM IN
Your app program allows you to promote your products in a way that stands out with mechanics like coupons, chicken, hurry, happy hour and VIP zone. The mechanics are focused on driving traffic to store. Maybe you also want to add another dimension to your customer program and create more interaction between your customers. Share & care allows you to create a “community” that interacts with each other and can even help you personalise offers to your customers. Consider this customer experience:
I use the app on a regular basis, but primarily because I use the coffee stamp card. However one thing that I really like with the app is when I get these “share and care” campaigns that allows me to give free products or great offers to my friends and family. The other week there was this offer on a pulled pork sandwich which I know my friend Mark just loves! I sent it via the app to Mark and Mark texted me immediately saying thanks. When he used it yesterday I got a push notification in my app with the message: “Your friend used the offer you shared! As a thank you we have rewarded you with a free coffee on us!”.
By using this mechanic the brand uses their own customer base to promote products that are maybe not relevant for all users. But it becomes relevant for all users if they can think of what friends they have that would like the offer. Maybe even Mark got this offer from five of his friends.
Your app program allows you to reward your customers in ways that build loyalty over time and keep them coming back. A lot of the reward mechanics are there to help you get them back sooner, but stamp cards and prepaid cards also represent the core of your program and will be instrumental in “getting them in”. Stamp cards have worked well for convenience retailers for decades and will continue to work in the future. It´s easy for customers to understand. With digital they just get better. Consider this customer experience:
I downloaded the app because of the stamp card on fresh juices and smoothies. I need my morning treat at least three times a week and it´s great to be able to collect stamps and get the 10th for free! What´s even better is that I am now at silver level where I get a better deal than my friends! I now get every 9th for free and once I have made enough purchases I will eventually get to gold and then platina level where every 7th juice and smoothie is free! Once I am there I will never go anywhere else!
In this case the brand has used a level-based stamp card and recognised that it is important to quickly bring their buying customers onto a better deal and from there motivate volume over time to eventually bring their most loyal customers to a lock-in deal because they´ve earned it.
Your app program allows you to engage with your customers and make mobile moments that make them connect with your brand. Use probability game templates like scratch card, wheel of fortune, popping balloons , or slot machine – or performance game templates like memory, tap it or falling objects. Or use surveys to create real-life games like in this case. Use select prize in combination with games to make the customer think about what they want to win before they play the game. Or use select prize alone simply to allow your customers to choose between different offers. Simple games are great fun and quite addictive. Consider the following customer experience.
On Tuesday this week I got this push message that there was a new scratch card game in my app. A chance to win free soft drinks every day. It only takes a minute to scratch and see if I win or not. And it´s quite cool that I can choose what I want to play for before I play. I guess each of them may have different probabilities, but I choose the zero sugar alternative. Actually I´ve played every day since the campaign started and yesterday I actually won! First thing I did this morning was to see if I could win another one, but unfortunately I did not. I redeemed my prize in-store today. It was just a great experience getting rewarded for having some fun “me time” on my mobile. I hope I will win again tomorrow. Or maybe the day after.
In this case the brand have set up a scratch card campaign that runs over a longer period and automatically pushes out a new scratch card each day to all app users (app openings by design).
We recommend that you payment-enable your app. This allows you to nudge the purchasing decision to the app. We advice you await mobile ordering to a second phase as it requires new processes in your store operations. Start with creating a shop in your app where your app users can buy coupons for themselves or share with their friends and family. Control when shop offers are available in the app and control prices of shop offers. Run happy hours in the shop and this way create reasons for app openings in times of the day/week where you normally have less activity in the app. You can even allow your merchants to publish local shop offers into the app. Consider the following customer experience:
The app provides so much value for me as a student. I am often short on money and I guess I am looking for a good deal every now and then. I am very conscious about the environment and one of the things I am really concerned about is the amount of food waste there is on our planet. I think what my favourite coffee brand is doing in their app is just a great initiative to contribute to reduce food waste. Based on my location the app sorts nearby available local offers that can be picked up just before the coffee shop closes. These are small, medium or large goodie bags with different fresh products like bakery items, yoghurts and juices that will be out-of-date soon. If the coffee shops realise that they will have waste instead this offers them a way to get rid of it and still make some money. It does not cost too much and I always feel I get lots of value from buying these goodie bags. At the same time I feel I am part of something good.
With shop in app you can open up for lots of exciting opportunities either the initiative is commercially motivated or driven primarily by the desire to be socially responsible. Another nice feature is to enable app users to buy and send a gift to their friends or family.
In a later phase add ordering to the shop in app feature to bring more convenience for your customers with a “jump the line” value proposition. If your app is payment-enabled you can also allow in-app activation of a prepaid card and you can allow top-up of your own or your friends and family´s digital gift card. Consider also to add points to your program. Points can be your own currency in the shop.
IN STORE: TRADE THEM UP
Your app program allows you to do personalisation, which can be focused on motivating larger basket size per visit. If you manage to nudge your high-frequent coffee-only-customers to add bakery items in the morning and a sandwich and juice for lunch you are doing a good job. Use receipt data, automate allocation of customers into customer groups like “high-frequency”, “coffee-only” and push attractive offers to these customers.
In-store beacons, in combination with push notification, can also drive higher baskets. Push promotions on typical impulse products through the app as the customer enters a specific area of your store.
REWARD: GET THEM BACK SOONER
What happens after a visit to your store? The transaction is captured and over-night the data feeds into headquarters allowing the analytics team to make some reports? No, that´s not what live loyalty is about.
With us your app program allows you to get real customer feedback, instantly after a visit. Visits can trigger a rating opportunity in the app giving the customer power to rate the customer meeting or a specific product or service. You may also trigger a survey in the app to get richer feedback for example on a new product launch. Survey data can be retrieved from the dashboard or via APIs. Rating stats can be displayed openly in the app as well as on web to trigger competition between stores and to be completely transparent with your customers. Add rating rewards and rewards on survey completion to drive customers back into your stores.
Use automatic follow-ups. Follow-ups actions are taken based on visits with no further analysis. These can be immediate or delayed. Follow-up actions can be a new offer, a game or a survey. Or simply a push message. We recommend you use follow-up offers extensively and with short time to expiry – to get them back sooner. Follow-ups can be based on basket size, product or product group purchased, or redemption of unique codes (stamp card, coupons etc). Consider the following customer experience:
I went together with my friends Mary and Kate to the local bakery for lunch earlier this week. Mary and Kate both had a salad and a smoothie, while I went for a chicken sandwich, freshly made orange juice and a large cup of coffee. Ok, and I had a blueberry muffin as well. Kate uses the app as well and she got a stamp on her smoothie stamp card as well as this follow-up coupon which gives her the next smoothie at 25% off if she comes back the next day for another one. As usual I got a stamp on my coffee card and a follow-up 50% off coupon on the next coffee the same day. However this time I also got an exciting coupon on a free muffin if I come back for lunch within 3 days. As long as I spend a minimum of $12 I get a free muffin. That´s a sweet treat I can´t resist!
In this case basket level data is used as well as basket size. Sweet treats are used as qualifier for the follow-up offer. If there is such item in the transaction and the size of the transactions is at minimum $10 trigger follow-up offer. Kate did not purchase any sweet treats and thus she was not qualified for any follow-up offer. A minimum basket size is also used as condition for redeeming the follow-up offer.
Follow-up actions can also be put on for example stamp cards like the case was with the smoothie and coffee stamp cards. There can be follow-ups that always happens or they can be follow-ups with a defined probability to happen, e.g. in 20% of redemptions. Use this function to create a program with surprise and delight as with this case.
Your app program allows you to reward your customers in ways to make them come back sooner. Mechanics with smart use of dynamic expiry dates are VIP zone, week cards and prepaid cards. These template mechanics are all designed to increase purchase frequency of the customer.
With follow-up offers that are 1:1 push notifications is an integral part of the campaigns. On issue, a push notification message makes sure that the customer know she got the offer. But just as important push on expiry reminders should be set to drive offer redemption.
Use automation to set rules for what should happen if an app user falls into the definition of an inactive user. Define thresholds on app-openings and in-store redemptions to be able to take actions towards these customers before it is too late.
Your app program will allow your customers to withdraw their consents and delete their profile on your “my page” in the app. We automatically delete logs and users after periods of inactivity. When we delete users, we also remove all pseudonymized user references to render data completely anonymized. Liquid Barcodes system provides privacy and data protection by design.