Permission marketing in the news – Retailers embrace mobile
By Optism Team, Nov 4, 2011
We’re seeing a steady increase in retailers who have taken the mobile marketing plunge. With the recent publication of Forrester’s Mobile Commerce Report focusing on retail, we thought it was a good time for us to zero in on retailers too. Thanks to a flurry of new campaigns, you can use your mobile to get a coffee, refill your prescriptions, plan dinner at an Asian diner, and save money while gassing up at a 7-Eleven store. Clearly, mobile is where it’s at!
Starbucks is a company that has embraced all that mobile can offer. In “Starbucks aims to increase coffee sales via QR code campaign,” author Rimma Kats reports on the latest development from the java giant. In their most recent mobile campaign, Starbucks is using QR codes to draw people to a mobile site where they can watch a video on a featured coffee blend, learn about other products and find the nearest store location. The QR codes are placed in a variety of locations, including POS outlets, magazines, newspapers and outdoor advertisements. Consumers can also check their card balances and top them up from the mobile site. Helpfully, Kats’ article includes links to earlier articles highlighting other mobile innovations from Starbucks.
U.S. grocery chain Winn-Dixie makes it easy for its customers to refill their prescriptions with an SMS program, mobile-optimized site and smartphone apps. The permission-based SMS program reminds customers when it’s time to renew their prescriptions and includes a feature that automatically fills them. Customers can also use the company’s website and mobile apps to renew prescriptions and to locate stores using GPS. Other value-added features include information on doctors within a location or unique characteristics or specialties of a given store. A click-to-call feature makes it easy for customers to call in with any special requests. As Mobile Commerce Daily’s Lauren Johnson writes, “By using cross-platform initiatives such as a mobile site, SMS and apps, Winn-Dixie is showing that it takes mobile seriously.”
Casual dining chain Pei Wei Asian Diner made quite a splash with its newest entrée. The company used a combination of in-store signs and online promotions to encourage guests to opt in to the company’s email list and receive a discount on the new entrée. Guests could sign up via text, the web, Twitter or Facebook. The campaign netted the restaurant nearly 20,000 new email subscribers in two weeks. According to the restaurant’s Jason Miller, “Given the large volume of guests carrying their mobile phones into the restaurants, adding an SMS element to our social media, web and email channels made perfect sense. Texting doesn't just allow us to engage with customers while they’re in the restaurant, it enables us to expand our email and social media strategy so we can continue creating relevant and effective customer experiences even after they leave.”
Another retailer took an integrated marketing approach to build up its customer database, as detailed in Mobile Commerce Daily’s “Southwest 7-Eleven stores add 25,000 opt-ins to CRM database.” Alon Brands, who operates hundreds of gas stations and 7-Eleven stores in the U.S., wanted to “build an opt-in database that would enable it to conduct future marketing efforts more efficiently and would lay the groundwork for a loyalty program.” The brand’s marketing agency developed an excellent multi-channel promotion that “integrated radio, billboard, point-of-sale, Web, social, mobile, email and database marketing.” According to marketer Daniel Wagstaff, “Mobile was the center of the whole thing.” Alon signed up 9,000 customers in the first month via mobile, and ended up with 25,000 customers signed up within a two-month period.
The campaign made great use of mobile’s conversational nature to refine its messages. Customers started the conversation by texting in a short code and received a response that asked for their zip code. The zip code was then used to segment the customer geographically so more “market-specific” offers could be made. This campaign, which is well documented in the article, shows how the various channels can be used together to create an effective customer outreach program.
One of the next big steps for retailers embracing mobile will be to adopt the mobile gift card. CreditCards.com writer LaRita Heet believes mobile gift cards are the “cooler” gift card and she provides examples of early adopters, including Starbucks. Within nine weeks of the program launch, Starbucks customers used its mobile payment card more than 3 million times and that number is growing steadily. Heet includes the “top 8 mobile gift card benefits we can look forward to” as further evidence for why we should all embrace mobile gift cards.
As an ecosystem, we’re good at recognizing the achievements of our own! A recent press release announced the winners of the Forrester Groundswell Award in the category of Mobile Application with the Business-to-Consumer North America division. The award was given to Redbox and Signal for their “10 Days of Deals” campaign. The SMS campaign delivered discounts to consumers when they texted in a code word. In the end, Redbox received over 1.5 million texts and added more than 200,000 subscribers to their loyalty club. According to Redbox executive Amy Gibby, “The 10 Days of Deals campaign exemplifies our ongoing efforts to connect with customers in a fun, surprising and value-conscious way.”
Following up on our earlier blog about the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards, you can now check out the winners of the 2011 awards. This popular event brought together an impressive collection of brands and agencies to celebrate a year in which mobile marketing reached new heights in creativity.
We’d like to close with a reminder that the Mobile Marketing Association Forum in Los Angeles is just around the corner. The main event takes place November 17th at the SLS Hotel, Beverly Hills. Optism’s Thomas Labarthe, Vice President, Mobile Commerce and Mihai Vlad, Head of Insight & Audience Management will be speaking at the Forum. This year, the consumer takes center as keynote speakers and panels explore how consumer-centric engagement delivers value to brands and marketers. In true Los Angeles style, you’ll also be able to “get down” with rock god Gene Simmons, from the legendary group Kiss!