The office supplies retailer say it sacrificed some sales to improve online profitability. It also redesigned its business-facing e-commerce site, StaplesAdvantage.com.
Front Flip puts a twist on its mobile rewards app.
Many retailers long have used coupons in which a consumer scratches off an area to reveal a discount or special offer. Now Front Flip LLC has given that time-honored retail tactic a digital and mobile twist.
The premise is simple. Consumers download the Front Flip mobile app to their iPhones or Android smartphones. Then they look for Quick Response codes Front Flip calls Flip Codes inside stores. A QR code is a form of two-dimensional bar code. It appears typically as a black-and-white square with a pattern of tiny black-and-white squares within; sometimes a company may include its logo within the square. Front Flip’s QR codes differ only in that they have a blue and gold border surrounding the code. Participating retailers can place the codes on posters, near checkout counters or anywhere in their stores.
Consumers find participating retailers by activating the Front Flip app and selecting the Places to Scan button. Relying on the smartphone’s ability to locate itself with GPS technology, the app generates a list of nearby retailers. Once in a store and in front of a Flip Code, the consumer presses the Scan button, which activates the smartphone’s camera, to scan the code.
A successful scan generates a screen labeled Scratch to Win with a gray square in the middle. A consumer rubs her finger over the square several times to reveal the offer, if one is offered. Offers must be redeemed within 30 minutes.
The benefit for retailers is a better relationship with their customers, says CEO Sean Beckner. Retailers can log in to a Front Flip merchant site to view data about the number of times consumers have used the app in their stores, user demographic information, such as age and gender, and time and store location of their Front Flip scans.
“The retailer has complete control over their offers, so they can create a sense of fun while protecting their margins,” Beckner says. “Businesses can use this information to create and send targeted gift campaigns.” That might include rewards for the most loyal customers or invitations to return for infrequent customers. Front Flip also enables A/B testing to gauge customer preferences for types of offers, he adds.
He also hopes that the digital scratch-off app is a fun one for consumers, because not all scans result in offers. “Not everyone wins, of course, and the suspense is half the fun,” Beckner says.
The app is free for consumers, but retailers pay a monthly fee to access the data about Front Flip scans in their stores. Front Flip did not disclose the fee.