Customer Experience Featured Article

Bespoke Coupons and Mobile Offerings Give Retailers Plenty to Consider

May 07, 2014

I’m not a coupon person, because time is money and $1 off a can of soup does not make sense if it requires me to hunt for coupons and manage those coupons in my wallet. But it is hard for me to ignore a coupon on the back of my sales receipt that is for a product I already use. Likewise, I can’t help but act on an email from a merchant that tells me about a sale on a product I planned to buy soon anyway.

This is the power of bespoke coupons, which really is the story of how technology is changing business and the customer experience.

We like to think that business has more or less always been the same until recently. In reality, business has long adapted to the times.

A couple generations ago, most people purchased goods from a store that was operated by the owner or an employee who the customer would see repeatedly. This led to very organic customer service where the business could have a personal relationship with the buyer and stock its offerings accordingly (and upsell accordingly).

All that changed with national and then global consumerism. Gone was the customer service of the mom and pop shop. But now with data mining and the Internet, business is changing again and what was old is now new.

I’m talking personalization. Back when a store’s owner knew its patrons, he or she could deliver the right discount at the right time. And with data mining technology where it is today, businesses can once again do that—albeit from computer algorithms and not from an actual face-to-face interaction. Personalized coupons are just another form of what used to happen in small stores across the country.

A good example of the changing nature of business thanks to data mining is the U.K. retail giant, Argos. It recently launched its My Account function across its online channels and found that it gained a 45 percent increase in registered users. It increased its customer database from roughly 8 million in late 2013 to 11.6 million today.

From this added data, the company is better able to offer what its customers want—and give things like bespoke coupons.

““The customer insight gathered as a result of the increased level of registrations has enabled a more tailored product offering based on customers’ needs, and has also enabled Argos to run bespoke promotional offers based on both customers’ previous activity and their profiles,” Argos parent company, Home Retail Group, said in a statement.

Online sales represent 44 percent of total Argos sales in the past year, and mobile sales grew by 89 percent last year. Mobile now accounts for 18 percent of sales.

“The Argos national store network, which 734 stores that are smaller and more efficient than traditional stores, is a potential strategic advantage in a digital future. Increasingly customers will seek local product collection, and will appreciate face-to-face customer service,” Home Retail Group said.

This is but just one example of how technology is changing business. But it won’t be the last.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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