Sep 2012

After a pretty long, productive week I was enjoying a relaxed foot massage at Kenko in Vivo City, when my homie Eshaan pinged me saying can I come over the G2000 outlet after my massage. I inquired why and he said he needed to use my iPhone to avail a 50% discount on some trousers he wanted to buy. Now I curious – was it an iPhone specific deal? Anything to do with the launch of the new iPhone 5? (incidentally there were about 100+ people queueing up for the iPhone5 at the Starhub outlet just opposite the G2000 store!) or was there something more to it?

Now before I proceed, I must mention that G2000 is not one of our clients (not yet at least) and neither do I know the marketing team or its agency.

So the moment I enter G2000 and meet my homie, I quickly realize that the business has decided to go ‘SoLomo’. For the uninitiated, that new jargon stands for the confluence of SOcial:LOcal:MObile – an integrated approach to digital that many retail businesses are trying to adopt and adapt to. Here is a quick snapshot of the G2000 SoLoMo promotion:

1. Scan the G2000 Offer QRCode pasted at multiple in-store locations

Even for a digital enthusiast and evangelist like me, I did not have a QRCode app on my iPhone. In fact I realized this is a big pragmatic challenge for such mobile-triggered campaigns in Singapore – many people ahead of me in the queue, I noticed, presumed that their respective smartphones have a native QRCode app pre-installed; in fact many seemed to think that the Camera app could do the job of a QRCode reader. I quickly downloaded a FREE QRCode app from the Apple Appstore called ShopSavvy ScannerKit. I installed the app and then scanned the G2000 QRCode pasted in the trousers segment.

2. The G2000 Offer mobile microsite opens up

The moment the app scanned the QRCode, it opened up a customized G2000 landing page on my mobile, which told me that I am on my “way to redeeming a special deal on Selected Men’s Formal Pants”. Thats when I realized that each QRCode in the outlet was pre-programmed for distinctive offers. I scrolled down and clicked on the “Facebook Login” button.

3. Login to Facebook to install & use the G2000 Facebook contest application

I had to enter my Facebook username and password to login and thereafter quickly install the G200 Facebook contest application. It was my first interaction with a Facebook application on the mobile interface but the experience was very much akin to the desktop version since it is all browser based.

4. Authorize the application and fill in a 5-field form

Once I logged into Facebook and installed the G2000 Mobile Deals app, I had to authorize it and fill in a short form with my particulars (a good way to quickly capture a customers details and I presume it integrates with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system in the backe-end). I presume this is a one-time process and I would not need to repeat this while availing future G2000 deals.

5. Display the G2000 voucher code at the cashier and avail the 50% discount

Upon submitting my personal particulars, the app displayed a “Thank You” landing page my voucher code, which I had to display to the cashier and she had to manually enter it into her Point-Of-Sale (POS) terminal to facilitate the discounted transaction. And there you go my friend Eshaan had a new pair for formal trousers at 50% of the price.

6. Chose to share the promotion on your Facebook Wall.

And as a satisfied customer, especially excited after experiencing a Facebook mobile application contest for the first time and to see a local retail chain taking the lead to adopt it, I was happy to share this promotion on my Wall so that my friends could see and avail the deal!

Oh by the way I forgot to mention that this offer was only valid for the first 1,000 customers who availed this QRCode triggered deal. And are  you still bewildered as to why did my friend ask me to come down “with my iPhone” to help him avail this offer? Turns out it had nothing to do with an iPhone but that one customer could only avail one deal at a time with his or her smartphone. I guess while G2000 wants to drive promotional sales through this campaign, they also want to ensure that as much as possible 1000 different individuals take part in it as this helps them to widen their reach.

Could they have done anything better? Here are 5 concrete recommendations:

1. Automate the discount fulfillment and payment process

It would be fantastic if there was a voucher scanner/reader at the cashier which could scan my mobile voucher code. Even better if I could click on the mobile voucher code and it would directly be sent to the cashier system. It would avoid the hassle of the cashier manually reading the code and typing it in. Of course I hope that G2000 and many other merchants would leverage on the Near Field Communication (NFC) payment infrastructure starting 2013 once the regulators approve the system for mainstream commercial use.

2. Integrate a customer loyatly programme in this SoLoMo campaign

To ensure stickiness and that regular customers like me come back for me, it would be nice if they can integrate the current mobile deals app with customer loyalty apps like Perx and around. In fact what we would be cooler is if they could partner with their preferred credit card merchant, Amex, to jointly create a mobile loyalty programme which incentivises customers to pay via Amex and avail loyalty points and some immediate redemption.

3. Generate more social content in-store

In any SoLoMo campaign, especially in the case of retail businesses, which have physical properties to invite customers to and engage with, it is imperative that brands take the opportunity to generate some fun, interesting content that could fuel their social media properties. In this case customers could be requested or incentivized to take a photo with a trouser/shirt of their choice in front of a G2000 signboard and upload it on the G2000 Facebook page through the application and avail an additional discount. The benefit of this is 2 fold – customers feel good and avail an additional discount; the brand generates loads of user-generated content and by tagging fans on the spot, potentially reaches a few thousand more “Friends of Fans”. Ask Nescafe, who ran the wonderful Operational Smile campaign.

4. Advertise on mobile

Since this is a Mobile Deals campaign, it would be in G2000’s benefit to leverage on smartphone display banner ads (yes, the thin strip banner ads you see on the top/bottom inside mobile apps). Ideally they should be geo-targeted as well so as to reach out to potential audiences who are hanging around the different G2000 outlets in Singapore.

5. Promote the deal via Facebook Offers

Lastly, Facebook has just opened up Facebook Offers for all FanPages with more than 4,000 fans. Its an interesting way of spreading a deal or an offer amongst all fans as well as their Facebook friends. The offer appears on an existing Fan’s news feed. The moment the fan clicks on it to avail it, he/she gets an email notification with the redemption details while many of the fan’s friends will get to see that the fan availed this offer – thus the offer can potentially spread like wild fire. The only glitch is that starting today, Facebook Offers has become a paid service for brand pages, with a minimum payment of US$5 – but I reckon given the potential virality, it may be worth a trial.

On the whole I was quite pleasantly surprised with G2000’s SoLoMo campaign and I would like to congratulate the brand and the agency on taking the right step in making the shopping experience more engaging and fun for its target audience.

Hope other brands and retail outlets have their ears and eyes open and are planning to pilot the SoLoMo approach for their Christmas and New Year promotions!

Prantik Mazumdar

Prantik is a Managing Partner at Happy Marketer, who leads the firm’s Social, Mobile & Display Advertising practice. He sits on the Global Digital Board of Time International, a leading luxury chain in Asia.