The biscuit business is working on a series of mobile marketing initiatives that it says will put smartphones at the centre of its brand building activity on social networks, in-store and online.
Marc Warburton, e-commerce and digital controller at United Biscuits, says the strategy has the potential to transform the “under-utilised” loyalty market for all its brands with personalised, time and location sensitive offers.
He adds: “We want to be leader of online snacking in the UK and to do this we need to be present across as many touchpoints as possible so that whenever someone wants a snack they can buy one of our brands easily. Mobile is key to achieving this and its importance to the business is going to be one of the key changes that happen over the next few years.”
The news comes amid the company’s trial of cashback mobile couponing service from online platform Shopitize. The trial is providing a “a good understanding of how mobile can influence the path to purchase and unlock further sales in-store”, says Warburton.
Shoppers who purchase specific United Biscuits products through the app such as McVities Jaffa Cakes or McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives are rewarded with up to 50 per cent cashback either by Paypal or cheque. Brands including Coca-Cola, Red Bull and Kellogg’s are also being used in the trial service, which the technology firm says is more likely to drive purchases than “traditional, in-your face advertising and commercials.”
Warburton says the business plans to integrate the app into its social media strategy next year as a way of offering advocates exclusive deals for being loyal on Facebook.
He adds: “There is no real gold standard on how you approach mobile deals, discounts or promotions and I think the insight we get from the trials will help us go beyond just running targeted campaigns and to the e-commerce and digital marketing activity that we want to do.”
The number of consumers receiving coupons via mobile devices is expected to rise by 30 per cent next year to more than 500 million people, according to mobile analysts Juniper Research. Industry experts observe that the attractiveness of mobile couponing lies in the ability to make the coupons targeted and personal but add the promotional mechanic has been held back in part by the differing check-out systems used by the major retailers.
Paul Berney, chief marketing office and managing director for the Mobile Marketing Association EMEA, which is currently working on best practices guidelines for mobile couponing, says work needs to be done to improve consumer awareness and the user experience across the marketplace to make it a mainstream promotional tool.