As the largest single European foreign direct investment in Pakistan, Telenor Pakistan is one of the fastest growing mobile networks in the country, operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of Telenor Group. Headquartered in Norway, the company is listed on the Oslo stock exchange, with group revenues exceeding NOK112 billion (2017).
With Telenor Pakistan having over 238,000 physical touchpoints already available to consumers in the market, the company has plenty of storefront and retail presence for their customers, however they realised that they had not yet invested in creating the equivalent digital connections and the database they knew they needed to drive their business for the future. WowBox was designed as an exclusive, engaging and highly effective lifestyle application that creates that digital connection.
As WowBox uses Liquid Barcodes loyalty technology platform to power its digital deals content, we were delighted to have the chance to chat to Hasan Sandila who leads growth for digital products at Telenor about how successful this concept has been to date, his learning from the project and also his plans to evolve it to become even more useful and profitable in the future.
Sandila leads the team that designed, developed and launched Wowbox which is completely free for users to download. It is even zero-rated on the network, so does not use any of the customers data allowance while they are browsing! With this programme, he has effectively created a unique selling point that truly differentiates the Telenor Pakistan network for its customers.
WoxBox – the free lifestyle application from Telenor Pakistan
WowBox was developed to address a number of key business objectives – both short term and long term. With expertise in telecoms consultancy, Sandila had a highly specialized background that ensured a clear understanding of the behaviours that drive overall network profitability – from consumer pricing to partnership opportunities.
He explained that the strategy for WowBox consists of three stages – build, acquire and monetise. Two years after launch, the results are impressive. The app boasts over 1.9 million monthly active users in Pakistan alone, and most importantly, when they try it, they love it. 25% of the app users engage with it on a daily basis.
While the telecoms sector is notoriously price sensitive worldwide, it seems even more pronounced in Pakistan. We were amazed to learn that Pakistani mobile customers routinely own multiple SIM cards from different networks and swap between networks immediately when even a one cent price difference occurs! So while Telenor Pakistan has successfully acquired over 43 million subscribers, it has to remain laser-focused on keeping them.
WowBox uses proprietary content and a customer store as its two key elements that satisfy customer’s needs for simpler ways to buy Telenor products. With fun and engaging content, it adds value to customer’s everyday lives.
Wowbox’s store sells data packs and products in a single-click solution that customers love – previous functionality used USSD codes and a ‘tedious process’ that was ripe for innovation. The app’s content includes articles across key customer categories such as sport, beauty and fashion, alongside movie trailers and exclusive retail deals with partner brands. This strategy requires considerable investment, however the returns are self-evident, with average revenue per user (ARPU) quoted as 2-5% higher for WowBox users than for non-WowBox users, as well as retaining customers who want to continue to benefit from the app’s deals, discounts and functionality.
75 percent of WowBox users access the store on the app to buy bundles of data.
With the product now a proven digital channel that customers actively engaging with, the business is beginning to monetise the base. Digital advertisers are keen to access this active and attractive audience with pilot campaigns already driving incremental revenues and better CPA’s for advertisers than even some of the tech giants can deliver. A clear media model is emerging for 2019, delivered by Telenor’s digital capabilities and supported by the external marketing agencies who deliver the unique content on a consistent basis.
WowBox users enjoy travel and lifestyle offers from partners
Key Learnings for Loyalty
The single most important learning for the WowBox team was the importance of using a specialised loyalty platform to build trust with retail partners and customers alike. Sandila’s marketing agency had successfully negotiated exciting and exclusive offers with popular brands such as Coca Cola, however the programme’s original operational process was designed to use generic promotional codes because it was the simplest option available. Sandila and his team quickly realised that because customers loved these offers so much, they started looking for ways to redeem them as many times as possible. The generic codes were easy to copy, re-use and share, which lead to an abuse of the programme through screenshots being shared with friends and family. This compromised both the programme’s exclusivity and the confidence of their partners.
As soon as the problem was identified, Liquid Barcodes was recommended as a unique solution that could provide single use codes in convenience stores nationwide which simply couldn’t be used more than once. They are invalidated immediately when they are claimed.
Unique codes are used by loyalty programme managers whenever they need a way to prevent fraud and eliminate risk – so they are extremely important when generous giveaways and offers need to be managed. Once the Liquid Barcodes technology was implemented, the improved solution delighted both retailers and also Telenor’s marketing team as it ensured a completely secure process at the point of sale that also ensures the exclusivity of the programme.
As a uniquely specialised platform within the convenience retail industry, Liquid Barcodes platform provided the essential operational enhancement that now ensures the offers are available only to the audience segment they were designed for. This helps the team budget for the rewards they want to allocate, as well as ensuring a closed loop of data and reporting.
WowBox negotiated exclusive offers including some FREE coca-cola giveaways and discounts in Bangladesh.
With this enhanced reporting capability, Sandila is able to identify exactly who is using the offers, which ones are proving to be the most popular, the demographics of the redeemers (by gender and age), the top performing regions and stores, the exact details of the barcodes issued and also what percentage of them actually convert. With generic codes, these reports simply weren’t available as a learning tool.
From an operational perspective, this security, tracking and reporting functionality is made possible by the merchant app which was designed to allow easy set up of retailers (whether independent merchants or convenience chains). It ensures the secure redemption that also tracks the conversion from the consumer app to the physical store with all of the details and analytics that expert loyalty programme operators like Telenor expect, as well as improving overall the accuracy of the tracking and reporting for each individual offer.
Retail merchants use this merchant app to securely redeem WowBox offers in their stores.
Future Trends – Video and Games
In its two years so far, WowBox content has been pre-dominantly driven by written news and stories, but customers are becoming much more interested in videos. Sandila knows now that video-based content such as movie trailers achieve three times more clicks than any text content, so this a clear mandate for his content agencies to focus on for the future.
A second insight that Sandila and his team discovered about their users is how much they enjoy playing games. Digital customers on any lifestyle app really expect to be entertained, so tools that can engage are an essential ingredient for a platform of this scale. Using the Liquid Barcodes gamification platform, WowBox has a huge portfolio of probability and performance games to choose from to ensure their programme remains fresh and fun, as well as accessing product rating and survey functionality which allows them to capture customer feedback easily. These elements ensure the programme is future-proof and stays new and exciting for customers no matter what part of the programme they engage with.
Gamification is now an essential element of most loyalty programmes.
Now boasting over 7 million members using the application across Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh, the Wowbox team is looking for new markets to launch next, leveraging the learnings to create another compelling digital database that drive these multiple benefits.
The technology itself will also be continually improved, with plans for both dynamic pricing and contextual marketing in Pakistan. We’re excited to continually update you on loyalty insights and learnings from Telenor in Pakistan and throughout their ambitious Asian operations.
Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty and digital marketing technology company specialized for the convenience store and foodservice industries. Our proprietary cloud-based technology platform allow retailers to create and manage their digital marketing campaigns with a proprietary process we call the “customer connection cycle’ to engage, promote and reward customers activities in real-time across digital and media channels.
How we do it:
We have developed the most advanced loyalty and digital marketing technology platform specifically for convenience store and foodservice retailers globally.
Retailers use our self-service dashboard to create and manage loyalty driven marketing campaigns that increase purchases with their existing customers, as well as effectively target and acquire new customers through partners or paid media channels.
One core component of live loyalty is gamification. We have gamified branding, loyalty and promotions. We believe this approach is essential in order to get customers’ attention and ultimately truly engage them with repeatable actions thereby winning their loyalty.
Check out some of our exciting/proven results here:
Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes and Independent Loyalty Consultant
With over twenty-five years marketing experience, I specialise in loyalty marketing consulting, managing consumer loyalty propositions, strategy and operations. In addition to working with Liquid Barcodes, my clients have included Telefonica O2, Three Mobile, Electric Ireland, Allied Irish Bank and The Entertainer, as well as Avios – the global points currency for some of the world’s top airlines. I am also a judge for the Loyalty Magazine Awards.