Boosting brick-and-mortar shops with ideas borrowed from online stores

Sponda became the first company in Finland to launch a VIP keyring that introduces cookies, a familiar feature of online stores, to the marketing activities of shopping centre properties.

The VIP keys distributed to loyal customers of the Citycenter shopping centre in Helsinki increased traffic between the shopping centre’s floors and extended the duration of the customers’ shopping visits.

The VIP key is equipped with a small RFID chip to enable the automatic identification of the customer. Participating stores were informed of the customer’s arrival on their display screens, along with information on the customer’s previous buying behaviour. Fifteen stores in Citycenter participated in the service.

Service with a personal touch

Touch screens in Citycenter read data from the Physical Cookie and used it to make assumptions about the visitor’s interests. Personalised offers and marketing messages were then displayed on screens in the shopping centre.

“We can provide better service to customers as soon as they enter the shopping centre. With traditional customer loyalty cards, the information on the customer is obtained at the time of the purchase or even afterwards,” explains Henrik Stadigh, Director of Sponda’s Shopping Centres unit.

“Touch screens read data from the Physical Cookie and use it to make assumptions about the visitor’s interests.”

Piece of Hair, a hair salon located in Citycenter, used the VIP key to communicate special offers to loyal customers as well as pursue new customers.

“We take advantage of the high customer volume at Citycenter by marketing special offers depending on the day of the week. Examples include lunch hour promotions on haircuts earlier in the week, and special offers for manicures later in the week,” explains shop owner Piia Martiskainen.

The VIP key was developed and patented in partnership between Sponda and TBWA Helsinki’s Pilot innovation unit. A similar VIP key could also be used by a single store or chain of stores. The VIP key could also be linked to other customer benefits and services, such as VIP parking and events for loyal customers.

Sponda brings the perks of online stores to brick-and-mortar shops from Sponda Plc on Vimeo.