Why The Body Shop is adding mobile wallets to its marketing mix

Body Shop tests mobile passes

Historically the preserve of travel brands and payment firms, high street retailer The Body Shop is shaking up its CRM strategy and experimenting with mobile wallets for the first time.

It was launched to support its Forever Against Animal Testing campaign which is looking to end cosmetic animal testing worldwide and will see the retailer deliver a petition to the UN later this year. Getting people to sign up is the first hurdle but the Body Shop was also looking for a way keep people up to date with its progress and encourage signatories to share it with friends and family.

Email and text were the obvious solutions but as Russell Longley, senior manager of CRM and digital development, told The Drum, the former is too passive while the latter is a too intrusive and so began the experiments with mobile wallets, a tool it believes allows for a “safe conversation."

“We know 52% of our transactions online are mobile; our customers are in the mobile space. We know that consumers are only are regularly active on only five different. We knew we couldn’t convince them to download another app for us to talk to them as a brand,” Longley said.

It was developed by digital agency Urban Airship, which claims in a 2,000 strong survey of millennials that some 67% regularly use the mobile wallets on their Apple or Android phone. For other brands that it’s worked on similar activations for, it said it’s seen retention rates “in the 85-95% range.”

It works like any other travel ticket, loyalty card or coupon that someone might save. After signing the petition on the website, they are asked if they want to be kept up to date with the ‘digital news pass’. Once agreed it’s added into their wallet and the Body Shop is then able push updates on how many people have signed up as well as link to news relating to the campaign topic.

It’s currently available in the US, UK and Canada and will soon be taken up in its other English-speaking markets.

The main draw for the Body Shop was the ability to quickly update the Android and Apple wallet pass (without the user needing to download anything else) as well as being able to segment customer for personalised messages.

Urban Airship further claimed that, from its survey, more than three-quarters of passes installed were the result of sharing rather than being distributed through a brand’s channels. And so, the Body Shop’s is hoping that this will drive more people to sign up for the petition.

“This isn’t about customer data,” stressed Longley. “What this gives the customer is total control over whether the pass exists on their phone and whether they receive updates. If they don’t they simply delete the pass.”

With that in mind, it’s being careful to “respect boundaries” and is not looking to merge it “too closely with our objectives to drive additional sales in-store.” However, it does see the potential in using mobile wallets for more brand comms.

“I can see this as a really strategic tool for merging communications and utility. If I think about our loyalty programmes or gift cards – we can combine customer messaging and information about their account with brand news in a single digital pass.

“It allows us to be specific about the message in that message where email tends to be broad and not as targeted to what the consumer is contextually doing in that time.”

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