"We register high growth rates and increased retailer interest in mobile couponing"

Interview with Norbert Gödicke, CEO of NuBON GmbH & Co. KG

05/02/2014

Digital services are becoming more and more important for customer acquisition and retention. In this interview, NuBON CEO Norbert Gödicke explains the benefits of using a smartphone app for mobile couponing and mobile advertising for retailers and customers.
Photo: Norbert Gödicke; © NuBON

Norbert Gödicke: "The connection to social media channels plays an important role"; © NuBON

Mr. Gödicke, mobile services at the POS are becoming more and more important. How can a smartphone app improve customer service?

Norbert Gödicke: Consumer behavior has also changed due to the skyrocketing expansion of smartphones. Today’s customers buy from all sales channels, are better informed and expect personalized communication. Consumption is becoming more situational and happens just-in-time.

Digital customer services like the ones offered by NuBON, which offer the consumer a true additional benefit come into play at this point. Thanks to personalization and location-based communications, customers can be alerted to individualized offers in nearby stores.

Location-based couponing for instance lends itself as an ideal product finder for the modern customer during his/her next shopping tour. Services like these serve as an incentive for the consumer to walk into a store and are also helpful in the purchase decision.

By using digital receipts, the customer is also able to collect receipts digitally and in one spot on the smartphone, sort them by amounts, retailers or other criteria and have quick access to them in case he/she wants to return an item. The shopping experience is emotionalized with integrated product images and strengthens customer loyalty towards a brand and product.

What’s more, retailers are not just able to optimize costs with digital loyalty programs; they can also make it significantly easier for the consumer to apply for their loyalty card at the same time. The customer doesn’t just get his digital loyalty card within seconds, he also automatically always carries it with him on the smartphone – it rarely happens anymore that you forget your card this way.

These mobile functions contribute in both promoting customer loyalty of existing customers and winning new customers.

What services are especially popular with customers?

Gödicke: We register high growth rates and increased retailer interest in mobile couponing – whether that’s through strong distribution partners like COUPIES or our own Bon couponing.

In addition, digital loyalty card programs are very interesting for many retailers. Using them can significantly optimize costs for production and administration compared to traditional loyalty cards.

If the retailer doesn’t have a customer loyalty program yet, he can introduce a digital version with NuBON right away. Supplementing an existing customer loyalty program with a mobile channel is also possible. The implementation is extremely easy and hassle free for the retailer.

What advantages does the retailer have by customers using the app?

Gödicke: There are various advantages for the retailer. Briefly summarized you can name two main reasons: getting to know your customers better and thus achieving increased customer loyalty with simultaneous cost reduction and increase in efficiency.

Mobile couponing for instance is an effective and low-cost marketing tool. Mobile coupons introduce brick and mortar stores to customers, since customers are very specifically being addressed with reference to location and interests. Regional retailers can address their customers locally in their specific business vicinity. Moreover, mobile coupons are redeemed considerably more often due to less waste compared to paper coupons and yield a higher performance at equal or even lesser cost. At the same time, mobile couponing is easy to integrate into multichannel marketing.

Subsequently, the retailer can find out more about his customers by smartly linking all available data – for instance loyalty card information, how coupons are being redeemed and through transaction data. The results can be utilized for their own CRM database and enable optimization of product selection, pricing, promotions and marketing campaigns.

At NuBON, retailers can also benefit from our mobile advertising and not just because of generally more prominent placement of ad displays compared with online advertising. Product preferences and customer buying behavior can also be utilized for targeted advertising, which in turn reduces waste.
Photo: Man shows QR code on his smartphone to a cashier; © NuBON

NuBON optimizes the complexity of checkout processes at the POS for cashiers and customers to where checkout times are further reduced; © NuBON

What role does the connection to social media channels play for the customer at the POS?

Gödicke: The connection to social media channels plays an important role. With the digital coupons (“Bons“) we integrate product images that can be immediately shared on Facebook and Twitter. In doing so, the purchase can be directly presented to friends and acquaintances and discussed in the social networks.

We have integrated five star rating functions with our partner eKomi. This way, customers can immediately rate the retailer, the shopping experience or the store. These customer reviews are extremely relevant to retailers, since they boost online visibility and SEO relevance.

With mobile couponing it’s also possible to pass coupons on via smartphone to friends and acquaintances, for instance within social networks.

NuBON has worked for some time now with footwear retailers like Görtz and Deichmann. Recently, you also obtained supermarket chain WASGAU as a partner. How do demands for services at the POS in food retail differ from the non-food sector?

Gödicke: Aside from approximately 90 WASGAU stores, we at NuBON were also able to obtain coop, Germany’s largest food retail cooperative with over 200 stores by the distributive channel sky. Both are expected to go live in late summer, so there are no exact figures yet.

However, food retail is an extremely interesting industry sector for us because of the increased shopping frequency for everyday items. It means an increase in diversity for NuBON, which is something we are aiming for. Cross-industry, retailers realize their customers’ desire for direct communication, innovative digital services and individualized offers. What’s particularly interesting for food retail in this is that we have optimized the complexity of checkout processes at the POS – using coupons, time and collector cards, store and gift cards all the way to digital coupons and payment – for cashiers and customers to where checkout times are further reduced.

In the future, the functionality of the app is meant to be enhanced with a mobile payment function. What advantages does mobile payment offer customers and retailers?

Gödicke: NuBON is not a payment provider. What distinguishes us is that we bring different functions pertaining to the shopping process together in one app and that we cooperate with different system partners. One of our key features is the direct interface into a multitude of checkout systems, which simplifies the implementation of different services for the retailer.

The future integration of a payment function primarily leads to a considerable reduction in checkout time, since already available digital loyalty cards are being captured with just one scan and redeemable mobile coupons are also automatically deducted. This process provides immense advantages for both retail and customer in terms of time savings and increased efficiency.

Interview: Daniel Stöter; EuroShop
First publication at iXtenso.com