“This is a game changer” – Eat named first retail partner for Weve’s mobile loyalty app Pouch


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

February 17, 2014 | 4 min read

Eat, the food-to-go chain, has become the first partner for Weve’s new consumer loyalty app, Pouch, designed to store a retailer’s loyalty cards and push out offers to customers using Beacon technology.

Speaking at a press briefing in London this morning Eat's head of IT Ramesh Bukka described the app as a "game changer" aimed at “exploring and redefining 21st century loyalty”.

Eat signed up as the first partner as part of a £12m investment into rebranding the in-store experience for its customers. The rebrand has seen Eat invest heavily in digital and as Holly Lee, Eat’s head of marketing, explained this has involved looking at how it rewards its customers.

“We’ve always recognised the importance of rewarding customer loyalty within the competitive food-to-go market. We’ve been operating for some time with the paper based loyalty cards, geared up towards food [but] Pouch has very strong advantages to really target that consumer behaviour.”

Currently, the brand uses its social channels, website, and in-store digital channels to engage with consumer and inform them of product offerings, but Lee said Pouch has the potential “to be another strategic pillar.”

“The future of this could be to alert you that there is a new store opened in your area. That opportunity to interact with the customer before they go to the shop, when there are so many competitors on the high street, feels really exciting,” she said.

“We were one of the early adopters of contactless payments and we’re at a point where people using contactless has almost trebled. It doesn’t feel too far off that people will be looking for loyalty and mobile in one integrated space. It is something that could be very natural for our customers.”

One of the key things that attracted Eat to Pouch was its integration with Beacon technology, which tracks a consumer’s location through in-store markers.

To start, there will be three beacons in different Eat locations and when a consumer is in range of one of them Eat will be able to push out tailored messaging to consumer’s smartphone and remind them of offers such as ‘Soup of the Day.’

The technology has been already been used by US brands like Macy’s but, Sean O'Connell, Weve's director of products, revealed: “As far as we are aware, this is the first deployment of beacons in the UK – a really exciting project for us and an important milestone on the journey to new and more rewarding relationships between brands and consumers.”

The app is currently in alpha testing, being trialled with an initial 100 consumers before a wider roll out is planned, and is also set to welcome other retailers predominantly from the entertainment and food industry.

Explaining how this ties in with Weve’s display media proposition and its recent partnership with Mastercard, O'Connell said: “It’s delivering brand messages that drive people in store. What we’re then doing in store with Eat is providing incentives and nudging you into trying different products. And then with MasterCard, you then go to the till, tap your phone and pay. And what we’re doing to optimise the experience is to use the data that comes in through that loop and inform the overall media proposition. So it should be constantly improving.”

Earlier this year Coca-Cola Enterprises revealed to The Drum its interest in exploring iBeacons for its World Cup activity.


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