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Coca-Cola, Nescafé tap gamification at point-of-purchase for supermarket shoppers

Coca-Cola and Nescafé are bringing mobile-optimized challenges and engagement experiences to shoppers in supermarkets in Beijing and Singapore, highlighting how smartphones are making it easier to connect with users at point-of-purchase.

Through a partnership with Ksubaka, Consumers in these Asian markets were able to receive what Ksubaka refers to as ‘MoJos’ – Moments of Joy that are delivered to shoppers’ smartphones several feet away from the shelf, when they are about to make a purchasing decision. Coca-Cola and Nescafé both leveraged Ksubaka’s interactive applications for in-store campaigns that resulted in users gaining rewards such as loyalty points or mobile coupons.

“The offline to online component – when a shopper has completed a MoJo and reaches a reward screen – is the moment in our permission-based experiences where we can offer the shopper to take one extra step: answer a survey, connect on their phone to social media, register on a Web site, collect a coupon, or enter a lucky draw,” said Julian Corbett, CEO of Ksubaka, Singapore. “In China we are also doing check-ins via WeChat (a la Foursquare), where you collect credits for returning and can use the credits for lucky draws or prizes.

“We see 10 to 12 percent of people willing to take that extra conversion step,” he said. “Sometimes much higher.

“The real key is that even in the case of coupons, shopper feel that they have earned this when delivered through Ksubaka playSpots as they have been part of the brand story through the interactive experience rather than a discount on the product that devalues the brand equity that had been painfully built up through advertising up to that point.”

Communicating with customers
Shoppers in supermarkets in the Beijing and Singapore regions were able to connect with the MoJos through kiosks placed around the store, called playSpots, or via their mobile devices.

Coca-Cola opted to use an Angry Bird-like mobile game that enabled users to throw virtual ice cubes into a glass to make the perfect fizzling Coke beverage. If a shopper was nearby a Coke display and was waffling about which brand of soda to purchase, he or she could play the game and receive a prize, which in turn could cement his or her decision to buy Coca-Cola.

Meanwhile, Nescafé sought to make the coffee-pouring process into an engaging game. In-store shoppers could play a challenge centering on shuffling cups, one of which held Nescafé coffee.

Consumers then had to track the cup as it spun around others, only winning if they correctly identified it.

Brands have increasingly had difficulty in connecting with shoppers at the point-of-purchase, which is prompting many gamification companies to step up to the plate. Customers are prone to making impulse buys in grocery stores, especially if a product near the cash register appears enticing, or if they receive a surprise mobile coupon while perusing the aisles.

Therefore, leveraging mobile is an optimal way of ensuring that marketers give shoppers the option of purchasing their items.

Rising usage
Ksubaka’s platform has been introduced in more than 15 percent of Beijing’s hypermarkets in the past four months. Approximately one million MoJos are experienced by customers each month, proving the wide audience reach potential of mobile games.

Several brands’ recent campaigns have shown that 12 percent of people who interact with a Ksubaka challenge connect via their smartphone on WeChat. A growing amount of Asian grocery stores are finding that WeChat is a successful communication channel for in-store gaming.

Chinese-American supermarket chain 99 Ranch Market is leveraging a beacon-powered mobile game that shoppers may play via the WeChat messaging application for a chance to win in-store prizes, proving that grocery stores are an ideal location for wide-scale beacon deployments (see story).

“[In-store gamification] is so crucial,” Mr. Corbett said. “Many of these products are low involvement products.

“In any given aisle in a supermarket, a shopper may consider just for a handful of seconds what product to select. We manage to stop 10 to 15 percent of footfall for 65 seconds and get them to fully engage and create memory structures that are unique to the power of play.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely, editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York