Last year we tested out an app for members. The app we built allowed members to:
- scan their ‘digitised’ membership card
- check their reward balance on demand
- choose a local cause for their 1% reward to go to
Listening to members
The feedback we got showed that people like the idea of having something on their phone rather than carrying a card around with them. However, lots of our stores don’t have tills that could scan the app.
We also realised that the features we’d included in the alpha weren’t compelling enough to launch as it was. However, feedback told us that personalised offers are something members really care about, and we felt we could improve them if we digitised them. At the moment, members receive their personalised offers on paper from the till, just before their receipt is printed. This means that to take advantage of money off they have to take, keep, bring back, and then remember to use the paper coupon next time they shop with us.
How can we help members benefit?
We wanted to find out if it’s possible to give members choice and control over the offers they get – this might be through an app or on the Membership website. We thought about how we could show members a pool of offers and then load the ones that appeal to them onto their physical membership card so they could redeem them at any Co-op store.
We worked with the Personalisation team in Food who look at members’ buying habits and match offers to members. Together, we’ve done a discovery to find out what’s possible with digital offers.
We looked at:
- what our competitors are doing and where we think we can do better
- if we made offers digital, how many offers would we give
- how frequently the offers would change
- if there’s a type of offer that works best in a digital format
- who’d run the upkeep
Then we built a quick proof of concept, for what we’re calling a functional test. The page showed a group of offers and allowed members to choose 4 to load onto their membership card and redeem on the tills in the test lab in our head office.
It looked like this:
This let us prove quickly and cheaply that we can build this for all members, on a website or through an app. The Membership team had already done a lot of research into digital offers in the past, so we were confident that this was something that our members would want and understand.
From a technical point of view, it’s looking promising
With a bit of tweaking, we expect the system that powers coupons at tills will also work with digital offers. It’ll be relatively straightforward to build the parts that the member interacts with, and it should be possible without needing to update our tills.
Testing our commercial assumptions
The more complicated part is figuring out which offers would be popular in a digital format. At the moment, we give paper coupons for things like dairy, bread and meat but we think that if we had the capability to switch offers in and out, offers on these things may get repetitive. So we’d look at giving offers on some smaller groups of products.
We’ll keep working in partnership with the Food team on this, but it might take a bit more time to make good commercial decisions.
We want to test this out with real members to prove if there’s a real appetite to use and keep using digital personalised offers.
To help us measure how many people want it, and help us build a pool of members to go to when we’re ready to test, we put a banner on the Membership website last week. So far, 21% of members who’ve seen it have indicated they’d like to help.
All being well, we’ll launch the first public trial on the Membership website and in an app this summer.