Get Inspired Jerry Lieveld 6 Dec 2016
How do independent shopkeepers in the Northeast of the Netherlands retain or even regain local clients lost to online shopping? They create a mobile app that brings the customer back into the store.
What’s the shopkeepers’ secret weapon in the competition against large retail companies such as Hema, Blokker and Bart Smit (big Dutch retailers)? According to Dutch entrepreneur, Jan Huzen, it’s his Geldt.nl (loosely translates to “money”) loyalty card with a recently added redeemable tokens.
More than a hundred shops in the Dutch Northeast province of Drenthe are working to counter the continuing loss of income caused by the competition of large retail companies and web shops. Their strategy is a collaborative customer loyalty card with discount coupons and redeemable tokens. Where can customers shop with these redeemable tokens? The mobile app tells you where to go and what the user can get for free.
“Savings programs are being enjoyed by the masses here.”
Entrepreneur Jan Huzen from Nieuw-Weerdinge introduced a customer discount card and now has added the redeemable tokens to the mix. “Dutch people are crazy about savings and discounts,” he knows. “Savings programs and discounts are being enjoyed by the masses here. With the loyalty card the client just needs one card to get discount at more than a hundred shops, a scale that is unique in our country. Customers in the region love to buy from smaller local shops because they love the attention and service, but they insist on having the discount they get from large retail chains. That´s now within reach for smaller shop owners.”
The redeemable tokens are a next step to regain the client. “That’s a real token,” inventor Huzen says. “Suprising perhaps, in this digital area, but we discovered that a real token in your wallet enhances the savings program.”
Customers get 1 token for every 5 or 10 euro they spend at a participating shop. With the tokens they can buy certain products at all shops that take part in the program. “It’s a local currency system with a guaranteed value,” Huzen says. “Shop owners buy the coins for Є0,25 a piece and can return remaining tokens for cash. So there’s no aversion to join the program. The benefits for clients? Great gifts for free!”
All participating shops present themselves in a mobile app which shows their address, directions, phone number and three gifts they offer for these redeemable tokens. “Works great, ”Huzen says. “The app offers a clear overview of all shops and their gifts which also is a good exposure for them.” Huzen expects to reach more than a thousand downloads by the end of this year.
The app has just been released and was mostly met with positive reactions. “For many shop owners, this is the ideal way to reach the mobile generation. They were about to lose lots of clients, certainly the young, to web shops. But young clients do visit cafeterias and snack bars, so if they get their savings tokens there, we’ll welcome them more in our shopping streets and malls.”