4 ways to advance your voucher code strategy

Emily Buckman, digital strategy consultant, Urban Airship, shares some top tips on using discount vouchers to to engage with customers.

online shopping

It’s a given that consumers are always looking for ways to save money. So, there’s no doubt that offering discounts can keep them happy and engaged – but today’s shopper is often on the hunt for more than just a bargain.  

Paper vouchers have long been used by retailers as a means of encouraging customers to visit a store and spend. But such a manual process doesn’t match up to the expectations of the modern customer. And doesn’t necessarily engender loyalty or a return purchase.

Increasingly, consumers are looking to mobile wallet passes to store things like loyalty cards, vouchers and more. They’re easy, always on hand and convenient. And the behaviour of using your phone at the checkout till is becoming more and more normal, especially since customers are shown to prefer businesses that cater for mobile payment transactions. Credit card companies already understand this, as do forward-looking businesses, like Starbucks with its enormously popular mobile payment & loyalty platform. Accordingly, retailers are now looking to follow suit with vouchers – going digital to meet the demands of their market, and using the potential of data-driven, personalised and timely offers to ensure that they’re speaking to the right people at the right time.

With that in mind, here are four ways retailers can advance their voucher strategy, so that it engenders loyalty and, ultimately, proves a success.

1.   Make the latest offers readily available

A great way of incentivising the use of a voucher is incorporating them into mobile wallets. With over half (54%) of consumers already using mobile wallets, it makes sense to utilise the platform, because it ensures that customers will likely have the vouchers easily at hand when making a purchase in-store.

Mobile wallet passes are a real win for both retailers and consumers. As a retailer, the service offers app-like engagement but without the time and expense of building an app from scratch to accommodate the function. For consumers, it negates the need to install another mobile app or remember to bring and use a plastic or paper voucher making the whole experience a lot easier.

2.   Stay up to date

Up to 85% of installed mobile wallet passes are kept on devices and rarely deleted and notifications can be delivered to a user’s lockscreen when the pass is updated. This means these passes can be an excellent way to connect with customers and keep them engaged with your brand.

When an offer changes, retailers should consider updating consumers through the mobile wallet pass ensuring they know about offers relevant to them and therefore maximising the impact.

3.   Keep it personal

It’s one thing to acquire a customer, but another to hold their interest and retain their business. Which is why retailers need to ensure that the vouchers offered don’t feel generic.

More than ever, customers are aware of their value and if they are handing over their personal data, they expect it to be used to enhance their personal experience. If a customer has shopped at the same store for a year and regularly buys shampoo for curly hair, offering them a discount for straight hair products would feel impersonal and offer no value.

This is where cleverly-deployed customer data can be put to use. By using technology that can analyse billions of data points in real-time across various systems and channels customer data can be leveraged to ascertain what content a customer should be sent based on their activity, past behaviours, key interests and more.

If the retailer has a loyalty program, mobile wallet passes associated with it can be highly convenient for the customer. The pass can then be personalised with point balances or special VIP offers. According to research from Urban Airship, 62% of people say they’re likely to download a mobile wallet pass if personalised, going up to 78% for millennials – showing the value of having a personalised voucher code strategy to sit inside of it.

4.   Right time, right place

Retailers can’t afford to miss out on cues for a potential sale. Timing is everything in retail. Notifying customers of the right deal, at the right time is essential to grabbing their attention and securing their business.

By leveraging location awareness, through the use of beacons, British retailer, John Lewis is able to send a push notification to a customer, reminding them that they have a discount that’s about to expire while they’re near the store. Equally, the retailer can ask if the customer is planning to pick up an order and have it prepared for them to pick up when they walk in. And it works – our survey suggests that 63% of people are likely to go into a store if they receive an expiration notification while nearby. That’s invaluable at a time when the high street is under pressure to deliver more sales.

Vouchers are an excellent tool for retailers to boost sales and improve customer loyalty. But brands mustn’t forget that time-poor consumers don’t want to jump through hoops to receive the benefits that come with them. As such, your voucher strategy should be tailored around the needs of the customer – making it as easy as possible for people to shop with you, while offering an experience that provides genuine value.

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