Like many New Zealanders I have a Onecard. One of the benefits to owning one is you can optin to get specials by email. Technically, they seem to have done a reasonable job. Better than most. The specials notices are nicely personalised with my name in the graphic, not just text and it implies that even the offers presented are based upon my own buying habits. Hmmm. Not sure of the last one, but at least they’re starting to do what good targeted communications should be doing. i.e. Making the offers more RELEVANT, based directly upon what customers are currently buying, not a general demographic which is the norm.
However, my real question with using personalised email, yet alone personalised offers within emails, is DO THEY WORK? Is there an ROI? Are they more effective than other forms of offers, being generic coupons in our letterbox flyers.
I expect AIM Proximity, the people that do this fancy work for Progressive have invested heavily in the technology and data mining aspects. They may even win industry awards. But again, does it produce the results the client wants?
My gut feeling is that the return on investment for this is likely modest, if any at all. It’s not that personalised, relevant offers don’t work. In most industries they do, but I’m not convinced that they would work in things we buy at the supermarket. It’s all just too much trouble for little reward. You have to print the offer out for a start and I, like many, don’t own a printer.
Now, in other industries this could work a treat. I look for big discount specials appearing in my email box for big ticket items like airfares and holidays, but groceries and then expecting people to print it out on their own printer, assuming they even have one?? I don’t think so. However, full marks for trying. All credit, as Fitzpatrick would say.
So, is it really the offer, or the media channel chosen?
I suspect that if they sent this same offer out as a highly personalised full colour direct mail piece, conversion rates would be 5-10x higher, although the cost (and special skills needed) are challenging, again posing the question of the viability of personalised offers for low value grocery items. I guess it’s all about percentages. Still, I’m looking for my next Onecard direct mail piece with anticipation. The last one was nothing like the fancy email version and only gave a generic offer. The personalisation was very, very basic, similar to things seen in the mail for the last 10 years, likely to keep the cost down.
Now, if they were really smart, they would send all this to my mobile phone, complete with a redeemable voucher. Do it in such a way that it would actually replace my clunky plastic Onecard. My mobile phone is my loyalty card, and much smarter. It’s already the rage in Japan, so I guess it’s only a question of time, since AIM appear to be developing this area.
If anyone from AIM wants to comment, or let us know what’s happening, please tell.