Information app and a loyalty program


Magnit is the major supermarket chain in Russia and the leading Russian retailer in terms of revenue and the number of stores. Moreover, it’s the only Russian company that made it to the Global 2000 Forbes rating.

Magnit app is a powerful marketing channel that supports consumer services. For Surf it’s another challengingly big project in terms of its user audience and an example of long-term prolific cooperation with a corporation.

Project idea

A new version of the app with features from the old one

So, we won a mobile app tender and ended up with a bitter legacy, i.e. a poorly operating cross-platform app. The idea that everything should work properly and become friendlier was a given. As a result, we had to start building the native app from scratch.

As we were designing the app, we came across some substantial limitations in the API preventing us from making the interface user-friendly and the client thin, since all the logic is organized on the server. For instance, the selection of special offers that we received from the server gave us no information on what stores these offers were available in.

As a result, we had to find a compromise between server limitations and the logic we could make up for on iOS and Android.


Insightful Android-first approach

In 2016, Magnit was about lower price range shops. Therefore, it was logical to start app development with Android. The primary target audience of the supermarket chain was low- to middle-class users often living in non-metropolitan areas, which together with low-end devices was taken note of in the design.

The iOS app came out that same year. We used reactive programming libraries: RxJava and RxSwift. In the Android version, we chose a simplified version of Clean Architecture and MVP.

Special offers and the shopping list

The name ‘Magnit’ is an abbreviation of a phrase that can be roughly translated from Russian as a ’budget-friendly store’. The concept of affordability is reflected in continuously alternating offers, which perhaps is the reason why this initially small app was built in the first place.

In addition to this narrow task of showing which products were at a discount in particular stores, Magnit sent its customers weekly push notifications about the discounts. As a result, the app provided users with a shopping list feature.

Expanded feedback section

Whenever the information on the price tag doesn’t match the actual price, a product has expired or a cashier doesn’t give customers their change, the latter can report their issue in the app — the claim is submitted to the quality department of the store and addressed within a standard term, of which the user is then notified.

What we found challenging is integrating the Magnit app with an in-house ticket system called ‘Puls-M’. Later on, we expanded this feature so that users could attach photos to their claims.

Sophisticated analytics

Firebase and AppMetrica help us get the idea of user behavior in an app, classify user audiences and successfully display special offers in accordance with specific regions they are effective in. We provided Magnit marketing experts with a simple tool they can use to swiftly manage promotional banners and show them in respective regions.


The long-awaited loyalty program

We knew that sooner or later Magnit as a company following a customer-centric business strategy will take their customer relationship to the next level.

The pilot launch in five regions showed that a personal customer QR code in the app is a good incentive to keep the app on the phone.

Users can add their existing loyalty card or create a digital one right in the app to gain access to personalized offers and bonus points.

We added some demo progress bars to visualize the bonus points customers get for their purchases. With the loyalty program in place, the frequency of use tripled — the app became so much more than just information about special offers. In 2019 the loyalty program gradually covers all of Russia.

Social clubs

The loyalty program is constantly expanded to include new capabilities. There’s now a Healthy Lifestyle Club where users can find information about healthy produce and subscribe to them, receive notifications, special offers, and tips on the subject. Soon the app will include the first liquor store brand — Magnit Vecherny (Nighttime Magnit). It’s hard to say which club will get more members but the main thing is that the earned bonus points can be spent in any store of the Magnit chain.

To target the young adult audience, mobile Magnit started a promo campaign called Student Club. Using the date of birth, the app finds out which users are 18 to 25 years old and returns 25% of their purchase as bonus points. The points are earned whenever young customers buy beer, chips, dumplings, pizza, sausages, and other items they usually prefer. In addition to that, they get a free Magnit sticker pack with a cute cat.

The upcoming versions of the app are also going to have multi-use coupons and personal memberships. The app will provide 5 personal offers effective in the exact store the customer is in.

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