Shopt Alexa

Engagement app *shopt has carved out a name for itself in the convenience sector as a tool that enables retailers to engage with big brands and earn cash rewards, and now the app has decided to incentivise retailers further through a new *shopt Stars loyalty scheme.

“We’ve got about 18,000 retailers active in the app that can earn cash rewards from big brands like Mars, Lucozade, Ribena, etc.” says head of marketing and engagement Alexa Hester. When retailers carry out a brand’s request, a cash reward amount will drop into their wallet on *shopt and as soon as they reach £10, they can cash that out into their bank account. 

Next week, the app is upping the ante with the launch of its new *shopt Stars loyalty scheme.

“Retailers can always earn cash rewards from brands, but we’re five years on [from launch] and we’ve got a really loyal user base, so I really wanted the opportunity to pay back to those retailers,” says Hester. “I don’t take it for granted that they’re busy and they’ve got lots to think about, so the fact that they keep coming back into our app, we really want to reward that and give something back to them.”

The loyalty scheme means that as well as claiming cash rewards from suppliers via the app, retailers will also be entered into weekly *shopt Stars prize draws to win another cash amount.

 “The more you claim, the higher the prize that you could win,” says Hester. “Every week, somebody will win £25 pounds, £50 and £75, so I wanted it to be really regular, really frequent. Every week there’s another chance, so you’re always really close to that. We’ll talk about who’s won as well because the retailers [on our panel] fed back to me to say ‘keep it really simple and tell us who wins. We want to see because actually I might know that retailer and you know, there’s a bit of [friendly] competition going on’.”

Hester explains that retailers have been instrumental in developing the app, with ideas regularly put forward from a retailer panel, which includes Atul Sodha of Londis Harefield, Aman Uppal of One Stop Mount Nod, Bobby Singh of BB Nevison Superstore and Julie Kaur of Jules’ Premier. “Their feedback is invaluable,” says Hester. “I’ll always put ideas to them that we’re thinking about in terms of developing the app or new functionality or different types of offers. And they’re really brilliant at feeding back to say what will work for them, what won’t work for them and they do change the course of our development road map.” 

The app initially offered a single reward for retailers stocking a set number of products from a particular brand. But the retailer panel gave *shopt the idea to offer different levels of reward to take into account the fact that most retailers have limited shelf space.

“Lots of the NPD that’s coming out is new variants of an existing product and from a brand perspective they want [retailers] to hold the existing range in store and add the new flavour, they don’t want to cannibalise their own stock,” says Hester. “But you’ve also got to put that into perspective. If you’ve got a small store and you’ve only got one chiller then you’ve only got so much space, so actually one brand saying ‘I want you to range eight different flavours’, it’s just not viable. So we work with brands quite a lot on tiered rewards. That gives everybody an opportunity. So actually you [a supplier] may be aiming for five different flavours of your particular soft drink, but let’s also reward them [retailers] if they have four, and three, because actually they’re constrained by the size of their stores - don’t alienate people because they don’t physically have the space, but let’s reward accordingly.” 

She has also been considering adding a gamification element to the app, but retailer feedback has made her go back to the drawing board as responses were mixed.

Later in the year, Hester will introduce a ‘refer a friend’ reward for retailers willing to spread the word about the app, but this is still in the planning stages as she wants to run the idea past her retailer panel and hear their thoughts. “I’m listening to them about what’s the next thing that can help *shopt to help you because that’s the only reason they’re going to keep coming back is if we’re of genuine benefit to their business,” she says