The Client is a large supermarket chain and the top retailer with impressive revenue and many stores. Moreover, the company was included into the Global 2000 Forbes rating.

    The app is a powerful marketing channel that supports consumer services.

    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, our Client 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 concept of affordability of the supermarket 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, the supermarket 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 supermarket app with an in-house ticket system. Later on, we expanded this feature so that users could attach photos to their claims.

    Sophisticated analytics

    Firebase and a special metrica 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 our Client 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 the company following a customer-centric business strategy will take their customer relationship to the next level. And it happened.

    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 demo progress bars to visualize the number of bonus points on purchases. With the loyalty program launched, the app reached a three-times higher usage frequency. Meanwhile, the program has now gone far beyond informing users about special offers.

    • Loyalty card owners ~ 59 mill people
    • Users in the app ~ 9 mill people
    • The pool of loyal customers has grown by 79%
    • The loyalty program covers various retail formats by 67%

    Here’s how the retailer structured its loyalty system:

    A grading system. The number of purchases made in the previous month affects the number of bonus points granted in the current month. This way, customers transition from one level to another. This approach had a positive effect on the app’s KPIs: LTV (Lifetime Value) and Engagement Rate.

    Dynamic multilayer system. Customers are granted a certain number of points for average purchases or a larger number of points for greater purchases. Customers may use the app to keep track of how many purchases they have left till the next upgrade.

    “Favorites” — customers can select an item category that will earn them extra bonus points.

    Experiments with game mechanics. We assisted the retailer in adapting effective marketing campaign methods to the app. For instance, we to the “Minions” campaign online so that the customers could collect digital characters right in their mobile app.

    Interactive components that boost user engagement. Interactive scratch zone drives users to engage with the app in an original way. This scratch zone is where we added gifts from Magnit.

    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. 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 supermarket chain.

    To target the young adult audience, mobile supermarket started a promo campaign for them. 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 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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    Vladi Makeew

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