This article published April 2017. For latest news THIS MONTH'S ISSUE
Success in any market is as dependent on local store managers today as it was yesterday. As a convenience retailer your success depends on the proud, service-minded store managers that meet your customers every day.
Digital unlocks many new possibilities which are relevant to retailers. Convenience retailers open digital initiatives to take advantage of automation in both retail operations and customer dialogue. Many of these initiatives are within CRM, loyalty, and marketing and these activities are primarily executed as central programs. Coupons are typically the core of a retailer´s rewards program.
Consumers expect relevance when they opt-in to your program. The capability to personalise offers and communication becomes a requirement for the rewards program. How do you make sure that the digital savvy millennial consumer experiences a personal touch from your communication and that the offers they receive are indeed relevant?
Consumers are habitual beings. Habits take form in the products we buy, when we buy them and where we buy them. In everyday life on the go, when our habits determine where, when and what we shop we shop at our local c-store. This store may be part of your brand.
Consumers are social beings. We connect with the people we meet in-store, maybe even stronger than we do with the brand of the store and the brand of the product we buy. As regulars we meet the same merchant many days a week. We know her, she knows us. She knows when we shop and what we shop. What we need. She greets us when we enter. She gives her farewell when we leave. We like it and we return. It feels personal.
Imagine you received an offer from your local c-store. Would it feel personal? Would it feel relevant? Would you appreciate it?
In Norway Shell/7-Eleven merchants have executed local offers on mobile for 4-5 years already. Shell/7-Eleven stores are franchise operations and part of Reitan Convenience. First the local offers were distributed only via SMS. Over time the local offers have become an integral part of the retailer´s app centered rewards program.
Customers of Shell/7-Eleven are automatically allocated to the local store based on purchase patterns; the store they visit the most often. The Shell/7-Eleven merchants have their own dashboard to monitor how their local customer base grows day-by-day, week-by-week. If they recruit new app users in-store these app users are immediately allocated to their store.
The next step is reaching these customers with a good local offer in the app. This process is made simple for the store managers. In three steps an offer is sent to their local customers.
The campaign creation flow also facilitates control for the retailer. The HQ team defines the available offers. The graphics ensures that branding and visual profile is consistent, the link to the point of sale system is set and price points made available on the different local offers reflect strategy. HQ also defines which local offers should be financed by the store or by the retailer. In cases of new product launches in defined regions financing may even come from supplier brand partners.
Within these frames the store manager is empowered to decide between 2-3 different price points on a coffee offer. The deeper discount will not secure the same margins, but create more traffic and thus more up-selling opportunities.
Local offers are distributed segmented, only to the local customers allocated to this store. The local coupons have unique codes, are single-use and are locked to the local store. They cannot be used in any other store. In the app the communication is clearly telling the customer that this offer is from their local c-store and can only be redeemed here.
Retail is local.
Opportunities for running a local campaign can be dependent on external factors, such as weather conditions (relevant for car wash sales or cravings for an ice-cream, a hot beverage or a cold beverage). Other external opportunities can be events in the local neighborhood:
Last but not least; empowerment is important in itself. Empowered merchants take advantage of the possibilities that are available to them locally. If the merchant owns the customer also in the “digital world” you will be rewarded with better program uptake as merchants have a strong incentive to recruit and engage your customers.
Combining central and local couponing is possible with Liquid Barcodes technology. Liquid Barcodes technology platform powers retailers’ digital couponing and connects offers with the retailer point of sale system through unique codes.
Liquid Barcodes is sponsor of GlobalCStoreFocus.
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