For the University Co-op to be able to peer into the future of mobile commerce, we only need to look back to January 2010.
While Longhorn fans would care to not remember the BCS National Championship game on January 7, 2010 much past the middle of the first quarter, the Co-op had spent months getting ready for what we all had hoped would be a championship.
The undefeated 2009 season, the 2nd win in a row vs. OU, the Big 12 Championship, and the month of sales before the big game all necessitated planning to meet each win. Not only the product, but how would we market to our fans upon each win?
We knew that our fans would want championship product the moment the game was over. We experienced that need just 4 years earlier when the store stayed opened 72 straight hours selling championship merchandise. We envisioned the same thing in 2010.
Email blasts, website splashes, digital signage, back-up server, check, all in place. But one thing was missing. No mobile commerce!
With the explosive growth of smartphones in 2009, we did not have any way of getting info to our customers via smart phones. No mobile website, no app, no push notifications, nothing. How were fans away from their desktops and laptops going to get information the moment the big game was over? And especially, how would fans at the Rose Bowl be able to celebrate the win?
Alas, the game did not turn out the way we hoped, but we did see that our future was upon us that night.
These new technologies meet the needs of our Texas fans. Our lives are lived on our smartphones, so should our commerce.
To let our fans and customers know about the new technologies, the Co-op looked to both old school and new school methods of marketing.
The campaign was simple and to the point: “Your Mobile Options Just Got Better!”
Our campaign has included in store signage in all 8 stores (both digital monitors and in store signs). The in store campaign has been supplemented with an email campaign, information on our home page, social media campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, plus a YouTube video.
The message was to let customers know that no matter the device, they would be covered for any purchase they would like to make, any time, any place.
In addition to the mobile site and apps, Digby has brought a technology in Localpoint to the Co-op. Simply put it is digital coupons and offers made available to our customers when they come in to our store or check in on their mobile device. Information on Digby Localpoint was included in all materials for the mobile campaign.
Digby Localpoint rewards our customers for having our apps on their phones. And our store will reward them often. The first offer on Localpoint was for 40% off one regular price Longhorn item. After this first offer, we will update our customers about the 40% off coupon they missed if they did not opt in to push notifications from the Co-op.
The future of mobile commerce is upon us. Over 12,000 downloads of the iPhone app since August 2011, nearly 1,000 Android app downloads in less than a month, and over double the m-commerce sales year to date.
And best of all? Not if, but when Texas returns to the National Championship game, the Co-op will be ready with all the championship product a Texas fan would want right after the game, on their mobile device!
Brian Jewell is the Vice President of Marketing for The University Co-op.