A partnership between Fly Buys and listed mobile marketing company Vmob will see a new mobile platform that will allow offers, promotions and sales opportunities to be sent directly to customers via their smartphones, and based on their personal preferences.
Stephen England-Hall, chief of Loyalty New Zealand which owns Fly Buys, says the new platform will allow the company to be more efficient and target what customers really want, rather than offering them products aimed at the general population.
"One of the criticisms I often get from customers is, 'You know a lot about me, why do you keep sending me things that aren't relevant?', so I think with mobile and with this new partnership, we'll start to get rid of the irrelevant stuff, and be more targeted and more specific," England-Hall says.
The platform, which will be up and running in a few months, uses information based on customer location, weather in their area, and previous shopping habits, to send relevant offers and promotions. In cold weather, a customer might get sent a discount for coffee at a shop nearby, or if a customer had previously purchased a lot of baking equipment, sales offers for further baking-related products would be sent to their smart phone.
England-Hall says while this does require the use of some personal data such as the customers location and previous purchasing trends, he feels this only makes the company work harder to protect personal information.
"Data's one of those things we need to be very careful of and very respectful of. We need to be careful about respecting individual's rights. I think as a company we've done that really well and I think that will continue into the future."
England-Hall also says the use of smartphones and apps gives the consumer more power. If an app was not useful or was not relevant, it could be easily deleted.
"I think people are concerned and worried about the invasiveness of mobile marketing and how that's going to be a bit corrosive, but really if consumers feel like that, they'll just delete you. So you have to be even more mindful and even more respectful of that than before."
The Fly Buys loyalty programme has 1.4 million active households, which represents around 74 per cent of all New Zealand households. With 2.5 million active card holders, it is the largest loyalty programme in New Zealand.
Vmob is a New Zealand cloud-based company, which is listed on the NZAX. In three years, the company has achieved international acclaim through partnerships with customers such as McDonald's Netherlands, Telkom Indonesia, Telecom New Zealand and DDB. Chief executive Scott Bradley says despite the international success, it was great to be able to have such a strong partnership in New Zealand.
With Fly Buys cards swiped more than 300,000 times a day on average, Bradley says the companies are now looking at how to improve the customer experience.
According to Bradley, footfall (how many people were entering stores each day) in retail in the United States, had dropped by about 40 per cent in the past three years.
He says there is a global trend where people are going to stores less and buying less.
"The challenge for us is how do we get them back to stores. We're focused on using mobile to get people back into stores and then enrich that experience. We need to turn shopping back to a service-oriented culture rather than a transactional one, and service comes from knowing your customer."