Friday, March 8, 2013
Aeon, Softbank Telecom, Yahoo Team On Coupons Via Cell Phone
The new advertising approach will start out at 460 stores nationwide, mainly supermarkets, with plans to raise the total to 1,000 within the year. Consumers will be asked to answer questionnaires at a sales campaign site on Yahoo Japan's Web portal. Those selected will receive e-mail on their phones.
The e-mail will contain bar codes that, when passed in front of coupon machines at Aeon stores, generate special coupons exchangeable for gifts or discounts. The cost of the discounts will be covered by manufacturers seeking to promote their products.
Aeon has been testing the idea in 50 stores since the New Year's holiday. When it decided to give away pet food samples to 3,000 people, for example, 6,000 applied and 58% of those selected actually showed up at participating stores. The company determined that the approach is more efficient and less costly than using fliers.
Aeon hopes to draw customers to its stores from Yahoo Japan's portal, which has 60 million users. Facing increasingly tough competition with other supermarkets, it foresees an effective means of attracting patrons.
Aeon will also compile data on what specific customers buy along with the couponed item in particular stores. The information will be combined with customer data compiled via its Waon e-money and analyzed to find more effective marketing methods.
Since November, Softbank Telecom and Yahoo Japan have offered a service that uses electronic coupons to promote store visits. Store participation has not been disclosed, but the companies plan to use Aeon's adoption of the technique to expand the service to 6,000 stores. The duo will generate revenue by running ads from food and consumer goods manufacturers.
(The Nikkei, March 8 morning edition)