24 Seven is a round-the-clock convenience store format based in New Delhi, India. First unveiled in 2005, the business is an initiative by Modi Enterprises - one of India's most successful conglomerates, with company revenues of over $2.8 billion.
With seventy stores currently and reported annual revenues of 190 Crore ($28mn), 24 Seven is a company with extraordinary ambition - and the power to make things happen. Committed to bringing global best practice to the Indian convenience store market, it has announced plans to grow its footprint to over 10,000 stores in partnership with the Indian Oil Corporation's petrol outlets and is already ramping up, with new stores now opening at a rate of one every two days!
Given these ambitious plans in an intensely competitive market of price-conscious customers, we interviewed the company owner Mr Samir Modi, to find out what he knows ‘for sure’ about driving customer loyalty. As a businessman, his academic background includes studies in Harvard Business School, ensuring the global perspective necessary for driving success in business in such a competitive country, but his 24 Seven store opening hours are not the only unique selling point he has created. Mr Modi has created an infrastructure where customers can pay bills, avail of financial services and even buy movie tickets, becoming an indispensable part of daily life in the capital city of India.
24 Seven's strategy is clear and compelling, and the brand is enjoying a unique relationship with customers as a result. 24 Seven is creating a destination – stores where customers will want to hang out - much like the ‘third place’ concept that Howard Schultz articulated when he created Starbucks. It encompasses style and music and the experience of a high-end café, unlike anything Indian customers have experienced before.
The one thing that Samir Modi knows for sure is of critical importance is using technology to help create a unique experience, atmosphere and in-store ‘vibe’ that drives loyalty. He believes that products and store concepts can seem similar to customers, but investing in loyalty technology is a strategy that is creating additional unique selling points for his brand through compelling experiences for his customers. Those relationships will keep customers choosing 24 Seven – beyond the essential basics of speed and convenience - an O2O (online to offline) marketing approach.
Like most convenience stores worldwide, 24 Seven had previously experimented with offline coupons and promotions, and concluded that they weren’t impactful. Traditional coupons were not sufficiently controllable in real time throughout the store network, and customers then took advantage of campaign weaknesses to avail of free products that they weren’t entitled to. The difficulties in managing campaign risks meant paper coupons were simply not viable or effective at driving loyalty.
Since his decision to invest in a digital loyalty platform, the company has successfully rolled out a number of exciting customer campaigns, offering instant rewards when customers download the app, incentives such as 'refer a friend' to drive adoption, as well as probability and performance games.
But Modi says these are just the tip of the iceberg. He is planning even more exciting ideas to develop a truly differentiated approach with his customers. Occasional shoppers will pay normal retail prices but customers using the app will get consistently better deals. Every product will show two prices, leaving customers in no doubt how their loyalty is being rewarded - every single time they shop.
This ‘instant savings’ loyalty strategy has proven immensely successful in other countries – such as the WRewards programme in South Africa so there is no doubt it will be equally effective in India if it can be well executed.
No matter what strategy they've considered, their loyalty platform - Liquid Barcodes - already offers the full extent of technology capabilities they need to deliver on this vision, so 24 Seven are delighted their investment is as scalable as their ambitions. This strategy will leverage leading-edge functionality such as geo-fencing, and 24 Seven say they are ‘willing to try anything’, from games, to on-shelf video promotions to achieve the ‘digital vibe’ and sense of innovation that Indian customers love.
In closing, I asked Mr Modi about supplier relationships and the value that true partnership with them can offer to make his vision a reality. He admits the company hasn’t previously had the volumes to excite all of the big supplier brands but that’s definitely changing with Unilever already on board offering every 5th ice-cream free within their stamp card functionality in the app. In addition to familiar and iconic brands, 24 Seven will source more products globally, delivering international and exclusive experiences not seen before in the New Delhi market.
Clearly the industry is also hugely impressed with this brand and it’s achievements, with 24 Seven now on the shortlist for the NACS Convenience Retail Awards, which “provide one of the greatest benchmarks of global convenience retailing excellence.” I for one will be watching with interest to see how 24 Seven achieves its vision, so stay tuned for future updates on this exciting retail story.
Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty 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 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:
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