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Ace Hardware increases mobile engagement 289pc via opt-in interactive game

A group of Ace Hardware stores reported an overall increase in post-promotion engagement of 289 percent from an interactive mini-game developed for this year’s Saint Patrick’s Day weekend.

The “Lucky Spinner” promotion was part of an ongoing strategy to attract younger generations and compete with the neighborhood hardware stores’ top tier competitors. Ace dealers were already seeing healthy growth rates in their mobile opt-in loyalty programs, and sought to leverage mobile as a marketing channel to distribute coupons and reward high value customers.

“Games are a good motivator for driving targeted consumer behavior for two reasons,” said Adam Lavine, cofounder/CEO of FunMobility Inc., Pleasanton, CA. “One, it’s going to make them more likely to open marketing messages if they see something is in it for them. Text messages are so often from the point of view of the marketer as a pose to thinking about what’s in it for the consumer.”

“Two, a gift in the form of entertainment relays a better engagement rate because post-click engagement is not created equal,” he said.

“It’s more of what happens after the click and the quality and level of engagement that depends on the future engagement of a brand. If you do a good job, you will be more likely to continue that brand conversation down the road.”

FunMobility worked with the stores to develop the game and the ongoing mobile loyalty program.

A win-win outcome
After receiving the promotional message via text, Ace shoppers clicked through to a “spin the wheel” mobile page that randomly stopped on one of four special rewards once spun, which varied from 10 percent off up to $50 saved on purchases made that weekend.

The entire experience ran in the user’s mobile browser, without interrupting them with a request to download an app. Because the rewards were time-sensitive and only redeemable during the holiday weekend, the promotion drove traffic by creating a sense of urgency.

Click-through rates were reported to be 26.5 percent, engagements were 37 percent and redemptions were 15 percent.

Of the more than 5,000 messages sent, more than 25 percent of people clicked-through to the game — ten times better than the average 2.5 percent typically seen with email promotions, according to FunMobility.

Of those, 37 percent spun the spinner and 15 percent opted to use the reward on a purchase, a healthy improvement over most coupons which FunMobility says normally average a 1 percent to 11 percent redemption rate.

Concerning opt-out rates, the percentage of customers who chose to unsubscribe to the mobile loyalty program dropped to less than one percent.

Overall mobile engagement tripled. The “Lucky Spinner” promotion drove holiday traffic while building lasting brand impression by providing a rich and rewarding mobile engagement experience.

Increased sales
Overall sales increased during the promotion, as average cart size grew 100 percent and subsequent mobile promotions sent from Ace increased by 289 percent.

Gamification is a fast-growing trend in mobile marketing because it drives high-value interactions, engagement, solid ROI and customer loyalty.

FunMobility reports that research shows viewers click-through mini games twice as often as mobile coupons and 10 times more than email promotions.

“The game was very memorable for consumers because it provided a small bit of excitement, as wheel spins initiate curiosity,” Mr. Lavine said. “It made the brand more progressive and stand out because consumers wouldn’t normally expect their neighborhood hardware store to have such a promotion.

“Because the redemption window was set high, we created that ‘now or never’ feeling which really increased sales,” he said.

Final Take:
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York