Independents Look to Cellphones in Fight Against Supermarkets

13 April 2007

LONDON: Local UK grocery shops will seek to turn the tide of supermarket dominance with a cellphone-driven discount scheme to be launched later this year with the backing of major brand-owners like Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Nestlé and Mars.

As of July, consumers will be able to register for the Shop Scan Save initiative by texting 'join' to a special number. They will then receive promotional barcodes via their cellphones which can be scanned directly by participating stores.

Shoppers will also be able to ask for specific deals from a 'smart system' by texting the name of individual product areas in which they are interested.

Other purchases made by consumers taking part in the scheme will be recorded, allowing a profile of individual shoppers to be created, and enabling marketers to send them targeted offers, in similar vein to Tesco's Clubcard.

The project will be implemented by PayPoint, which provides electronic payment facilities to thousands of independent stores and centralised buying groups such as Spar, Costcutter and Co-Op.

It envisaged that the scheme might eventually replace paper coupons, which have lately suffered plunging redemption rates of as low as 2%-4%. Printed coupons are also subject to large scale malredemption, costing brand owners millions.

Says PayPoint ceo Dominic Taylor: "This is about driving footfall to retailers while delivering benefits to brand owners."

Shop Scan Save was piloted in Hull last year, backed by a ten week TV campaign. The trial attracted around 13,000 users and an average redemption rate of 20%.

Data sourced from The Times (UK); additional content by WARC staff