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Pep Boys thanks SMS and wallet program for successful mobile entry

NEW YORK – A Pep Boys executive at the Mobile Marketing Summit: Wearables and Holiday Focus 2015 explained how a SMS and mobile wallet program was the best fit for the automotive aftermarket chain given its heavy reliance on the bricks-and-mortar experience.

During the session, Marketing the Nation’s No. 1 Automotive Aftermarket Chain via Mobile, the executive explained the difficulties of developing mobile practices, as customers of Pep Boys need to enter its on-site locations when purchasing from the retailer because they usually need to bring in their vehicles for instillation. This required the retailer to determine how to implement mobile within the bricks-and-mortar experience, and has since seen significant success following the introduction of the SMS and mobile wallet, such as a deals from messages resulting in redemption rates of 9 percent.

“We have been around so long, so our customers are a little bit of an older demographic, our executives are a little bit of an older demographic and our systems were not created last year,” said Rachel Silva, assistant vice president of marketing at Pep Boys. “We have a lot of legacy systems that we are always needing to integrate.

“Mobile emerging media can be a little challenging for us but we found a really easy way to dive in and get some great results,” she said. “What I’m really excited about as a marketer is our SMS and mobile wallet program.”

Mobile Marketer organized the Mobile Marketing Summit: Wearables and Holiday Focus 2015.

Mobile emergence
The heavy bricks-and-mortar presence combined with its long history made it difficult for Pep Boys to foray into the mobile-centric world of today. Ms. silva explained how the retailer had to focus on how to integrate its legacy systems to mobile and with appropriate measures for older demographics, as this is their main customer base.

Pep Boys’ mobile wallet program saw significant success, exceeding the retailer’s expectations. Customers are able to access deals and any information they may need within mobile wallets on various devices.

The retailer sends SMS messages to customers who have subscribed and from there they can add these deals or coupons to their device’s wallet. Pep Boys is able to send targeted messages, that a personal to individual consumer’s journey.

Customers that do so become highly loyal to the brand. For retailers, if a customer adds their content to their mobile wallet, that customer is essentially saying they are faithful to the brand.

For the auto retailer, 79 percent of mobile coupons sent to consumers through SMS were added to users’ mobile wallets and 9 percent of that was used for in-store redemption.

Building on success
Following the success of its SMS program, Pep Boys wanted to get the most out of the program and introduced various endeavors to capitalize on that.

For instance, the retailer instituted Wi-Fi within its bricks-and-mortar locations, and a substantial amount of customers took advantage of it. Pep Boys then introduced a landing page where users were prompted to subscribe to the SMS program, in which 30 percent of customers signed up.

As the company has such a long history, it focuses on integrating features with old school tactics. The retailer was also able to combine direct mail advertisements to mobile devices through texting, which allows customers to add the printed deal to their mobile wallet by texting the number on the printout.

Pep Boys also leverages the pull that mobile has on customer service. The retailer has been able to help 55 percent of customers who have texted in with negative reviews, and turn the situation around to a positive one.

Customers can also scan QR codes and enter in their vehicle information to find products while in-stores and at home, in an attempt to streamline the customer experience.

“Our program benefits the customer in a huge way,” Ms. Silva said. “We knew this was the right thing to do and that it was the right program but it really exceeded our expectations.”

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily