The brands are hosting the deals on “Happiour”, an app that lets people discover offers and events happening around them in real-time. Taking inspiration from the classic Happy Hour concept, the self-service advertising platform lets marketers control what, where and when “Happiours” reach users.
Odeon plans to use the app on warm days, when people are less likely to visit the cinema, to offer free ice cream with every ticket as well as two for one deals on ice cold drinks. Meanwhile, Yo! Sushi is running timely discount deals to extend its lunchtime peak trading period by encouraging people to visit at different times of the afternoon to receive different discounts.
People can either use the app to access the closest deals to their location or search for offers for specific food and drink as well as receive push notifications whenever their favourite brands post a “Happiour”. The frequency increases the chances of people coming into contact with those brands they would not normally choose, according to the app’s makers, paving the way for loyalty building via the service.
Where previous daily deal applications pushed steep discounts at high volumes, brands are using “Happiour” to tweak deals accordingly to shift excessive stock, introduce new products, extend peak times and reduce slow trading periods. The strategic focus encapsulates how the service is being promoted to potential vendors as a “smarter”, “more relevant” alternative to the low-value discounting the daily deals sector had become mired in.
Social media is being used to bolster the allure of the deals, allowing people to share them from their preferred social network, SMS or from the app’s messenger service. The aim is to encourage more deals to be shared from within the app in order to generate revenue from anonymised data.
If a brand wants to run a “Happiour” on a particular day for example, the data can be used to determine what specific demographics are doing in a certain location and what their preferred products or vendors are.
The service launched three weeks ago and has around 3,000 users. It is targeting companies based in Soho and Shoreditch but plans to expand to other areas where three or more of its vendors already exist.
Partners are promoting the app in-stores, while “Happiour”-branded tube wallets are being handed out at strategic locations across London. Additionally, Several “Flash Hours” are being prepped with Odeon, Flat Planet, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Apostrophe, that reward people with free offers in exchange for downloading the app.
Hal Stokes, Happiour founder, says the product bridges the gap between YPLan and O2’s Priority Moments, making a “very uncool space, cool”.
The service attempts to avoid the trappings that caused companies such as Groupon and LivingSocial to lose their way after a period of strong growth. Both suffered losses between 2011 and 2013 as a result of their propositions recruiting deal-seekers rather than long-term customers for brands. According to data released from global mobile panel Onavo Insights in 2013, 64% of LivingSocial users also use Groupon, and 25% of Groupon users also use LivingSocial. The lack of loyalty sparked an overhaul of their propositions around value and using daily deals to help build brands.