Loyalty programme opens digital channels
Once a customer downloads the app they keep using it – Neasa Parker, Three Ireland
Three Ireland’s rapidly expanding 3Plus loyalty programme is opening up a new digital marketing channel for small businesses around the country. “Most small businesses don’t have digital marketing budgets or the technical resources to develop their own loyalty programmes,” says Three Ireland head of propositions Neasa Parker.
“We are beginning to open up our 3Plus programme to local businesses in towns around Ireland to give them an opportunity to reach a new highly engaged audience.”
Launched last year, the 3Plus loyalty programme now has more than half-a-million regular users with between 15,000 and 20,000 customers signing up every month. “Any Three customer can join the programme, there are no eligibility criteria,” says Parker.
“Over 550,000 customers use the app more than three times a month, that’s 35 per cent of our overall customer base. Our ambition is to grow that to 50 per cent by the end of next year. Our experience so far is that once a customer downloads the app they keep using it.”
The scheme blends special offers and rewards from Three with offers from a range of partners including Etihad Airways, Deliveroo, Four Star Pizza, IMC cinemas, Elvery’s and Eason.
“The rewards package is refreshed every month,” says Parker. “We leverage our own sponsorships to make sure we have engaging offerings for our customers. For example, 3Plus members can get access to pre-sale tickets for concerts and events in the 3Arena, for the Electric Picnic, and for Longitude. They can purchase tickets up to 48 hours before anyone else. When an event has sold out members still have access to a certain amount of tickets as well. Overall, about 14 million pre-sale tickets were sold through 3Plus last year. For Ed Sheeran alone, 43,000 pre-sale tickets were sold.”
Partner offers are central to the programme. “New partners are joining every month. The offers vary with some of them being one-off promotions and others there all the time. Some of them are very innovative. Deliveroo were looking for ways to drive national usage and offers 3Plus members €5 off one order each month – over 4,000 members avail of that every month. IMC and Odeon have offers of two tickets for €10. Members can get 10 per cent off Etihad flights and there is a range of other very attractive offers available from partners.
“The only criterion for us is that the offer is something our customers would like,” she continues. “When we agree on an offer with a partner we promote it through the 3Plus app, personalised notices through SMS, emails, and sometimes through above the line advertising.”
The programme is not just about big brands and national partnerships, she points out. “The technology is very innovative, we spent a lot of time over the past two years working on it. We use the information our customers give us to ensure that they are only alerted to offers relevant to them. We have also incorporated geofencing technology which works behind the scenes to present customers with relevant offers in their area.”
That same technology has enabled Three to open the programme to small businesses. “We started by offering it to small businesses in Arklow,” Parker explains.
“We have a florist, a barber shop, and a number of retailers and restaurants participating. They don’t want to present offers to customers outside their local area but would still like to be part of the programme. It’s a win win. We are giving them access to a digital marketing solution to promote their business. These businesses are able to present offers to 3Plus members who either live in Arklow or are passing through the area. They don’t have the budgets for major campaigns, they just want to be able to make the right offers, to the right customers at the right time and we are helping them do that. It’s not just about the big brands we are working with local businesses helping them to expand footfall. We have expanded the programme to Sligo and Castlebar and will be rolling it out to other towns around the country in the coming months.”
Three also plays its part in promoting the offers. “We do offline promotion of the offers as well with staff in the local Three store out and about getting involved,” she notes.
At the other end of the scale, large corporate customers of Three can make use of the 3Plus programme to roll out staff rewards and bonuses. “They will be able to use it to make specific offers available exclusively to their employees. This will offer them a unique differentiator as an employer.”
No bad thing these days when the war for talent is being fought more keenly than ever.