Reward students: an opportunity for convenience retailers and supplier brands

Posted on: 2nd June 2017

HOLD is an app that reward students for focusing at school – an opportunity for convenience retailers and supplier brands

In Norway HOLD has proven their business model and recently they launched in both Denmark and Sweden. The app is designed to help students do away with the constant distraction of their smartphones while at school. For students HOLD is three things: 1) collect points by not using your phone, 2) exchange points on a marketplace to redeem products or services from HOLD´s commercial partners and 3) compete with friends, schools and other students. For convenience retailers and supplier brands HOLD is an interesting user base to reach – to drive traffic to stores and trials of new products.

According to Business Insider, reports consistently show that consumers spend upwards of three hours per day on their phones. And that’s an average across all age groups. A study by Deloitte found that millennials (aged 18-24) were using their phones almost 50% more than the next age group (25-34), measured in terms of ‘looks per day’. According to Hold, the average student checks their phones 200 times a day. That’s a problem, because research shows that you take in a lot more information when you put your phone away – as much as 62%. And that, in turn, converts to 30% higher grades.

That’s where HOLD can make a difference. And that´s why HOLD is interesting for brands to be associated with. Because HOLD´s value proposition to retailers and brands is also CSR.

The HOLD app increases focus by offering rewards for students who put away their phone while at school. You simply activate the app and for every 20 minutes not using your phone you score a point, which can then be exchanged for coffee, drinks, yoghurts, snacks, cinema tickets, physical products – you name it.

Backed by its rapid success and venture capital, Hold is already looking at international expansion outside of the Nordics. The team is looking for partners and convenience retailers with a solid network of stores on ground in the markets they enter. With use of Liquid Barcodes´ technology the HOLD team has been able to drive students into Reitan Convenience stores such as 7-Eleven.

Hold AS was founded by the students Maths Mathisen, Florian Winder, and Vinoth Vinaya, from Copenhagen Business School.

“As students we realized how easy it was to lose focus in a flood of incoming messages, snaps and the like. Even though we were aware of the advantages of staying off the phone, it wasn’t enough to put the phone away,” says Vinoth Vinaya.

Norway was first out and now the app has 83.000 unique users, which is an adaption rate of 40% of the full-time students. Denmark launched some months ago counting now 16.000 users (10% adaption rate) while HOLD just launched in Sweden. Since launch HOLD has distributed 220.000 rewards to their users.

HOLD has got nationwide PR coverage in Norway and Denmark. Part of this is because of the purpose of the app that many want to take part in. HOLD has already managed to attract many prominent brands as their customers, like Coca-Cola.

Knut Anders Thorset, Snr. Mngr. Digital Sales and Marketing, Coca-Cola European Partners Norway is one of HOLDs customers. “We´ve worked with HOLD since they launched and we have found it to be a very powerful channel for us. We love the simple and clear idea of the app, solving a real issue for students. It’s great to take part and contribute to a very positive project for the society. From a commercial perspective driving traffic to our customer’s stores and trials of our new products have been objectives and we´ve been able to do so in a very effective manner across products like Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Sprite Zero and Burn energy drinks”.

The business model is based on giving brands exposure to a difficult crowd. So what’s in it for them? Students are notoriously tricky customers. 50% use ad blockers, they exhibit little brand loyalty, and are difficult to engage.

“By connecting students and businesses on a two-sided platform, value is created for both sides. Students increase their focus in school and get rewarded for it. Businesses have access to a powerful channel and lots of positive exposure,” explains Vinoth Vinaya.

Mats Danielsen comments on this:

“We see lots of start-ups approaching retailers and supplier brands with their ideas. Often these ideas are apps. HOLD represents a unique idea and stand out in the crowd. I believe HOLD fits well with the convenience industry as well. Together with their supplier brands convenience retailers can offer the students that use HOLD attractive and everyday relevant rewards. Working with HOLD as a strategy towards this consumer segment can also link well with a parallel retailer rewards/loyalty program.”

The HOLD app, with unique coupons being redeemed in convenience stores is possible with Liquid Barcodes technology. Liquid Barcodes technology platform powers retailers’, brands and companies like HOLD´s 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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