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Blimpie slices up customer engagement with social-heavy match-and-win contest

Submarine sandwich chain Blimpie is hosting a mobile-optimized match-and-win contest featuring a plethora of cash prizes and enabling consumers to earn additional entries by sharing the game with social media followers and interacting with the brand’s official accounts.

The Combo Craze Promotion, which runs through June 5, was designed to augment brand awareness among consumers and bolster fan engagement through an easily-playable game. Although individuals can collect the most contest entries by purchasing a Blimpie sandwich at one of its stores, they can also follow the food marketer’s official Twitter and Instagram accounts to retrieve codes corresponding to additional chances to win.

“Offering consumers an incentive via gamification is a great way to accelerate the addition of new followers on social media,” said Paul Valle, vice president at Boston Retail Partners. “Consumers like to be entertained and retailers that can get, and keep, them engaged will increase loyalty and sales.

“Gamification is a growing trend as according to BRP’s 2015 CRM Survey, 87 percent of retailers plan to use gamification to engage the customer within five years.”

Garnishing marketing with mobile
The Combo Craze Promotion offers participants the chance to win a grand prize trip to New York for two, or more than $9,000 in cash and instant win prizes. The contest began on April 4 and runs through June 5.

Fans interested in playing the game may visit on their mobile devices or desktops. Once they have input their personal details, such as name and address, the site will bring them to another page showing nine circles.

Consumers must then click on a circle and attempt to find its matching image. The images delineate food and beverage items carried in Blimpie’s restaurants, such as sodas, sandwiches and chips.

Each time a user plays the game, he or she will earn entry into one of four prize categories. In addition to the New York trip up for grabs, three first prize recipients will get $1,000 in cash, five second prize winners will receive $500 in cash and ten third prize winners will receive free sub sandwiches for one year.

Additional instant win prizes include $5 Blimpie gift cards and buy-one-get-one-free sandwich coupons.

Players can also increase their chances of winning by actively engaging with Blimpie on social media. Consumers who share the promotion across their social networks and refer a friend who registers for the game will receive 10 extra tokens, which can be redeemed for chances to play.

Those who follow Blimpie’s Instagram or Twitter account will earn another five tokens, in addition to the enter codes visible on the brand’s Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter handle.

Driving online engagement
Blimpie believes the promotion will fuel engagement among consumers, as well as help thank current fans for their support.

The brand faces stiff competition in the mobile loyalty sector from its fellow sandwich and convenience chains, which have made significant strides with order-ahead options and Wi-Fi rollouts.

Rival sandwich chain Subway is expanding its Wi-Fi-enabled loyalty program to 600 Canadian stores following a successful pilot, highlighting how fast-food chains can leverage mobile to drive in-store traffic, especially among millennials (see story).

Meanwhile, QuickChek is raising the stakes in its competition with other convenience store chains such as 7-Eleven by rolling out a mobile ordering app for 142 locations in New Jersey, New York and Long Island (see story).

Blimpie could stand to increase its promotional outreach even more by tapping into tried-and-true mobile marketing strategies such as geolocation and social check-in.

“To augment this campaign and bolster customer engagement, Blimpie could offer bonus tokens for checking in via Facebook when visiting a Blimpie store,” Mr. Valle said. “Another way to increase participation in the campaign is to use geolocation to send consumers special promotions when they are in close proximity to a store.”