Automated competitions capability in Arch-Infinity
It is the strategy of Arch Retail Systems, a leading solutions provider in southern African retail, to continuously improve the in-store system with value-added services at point of sale (POS).
These include EFT, virtual airtime, automated cash handling and a more recent addition - a loyalty/rewards product. "A conscious decision was made some time ago not to develop these value-added services in-house, but to rather select the best of breed and partner with these, offering an integrated solution," says David Geldenhuys, Marketing Executive Officer at Arch Retail. A number of loyalty/rewards solutions were evaluated over a period of time, and the decision taken to partner with Infinity Rewards.
The Arch-Infinity solution has been successfully implemented in a number of stores to date, most notably OK Foods Group, franchise division of Shoprite Checkers, and Sefalana Group, major retail operation in Botswana. The solution offers the normal loyalty/rewards functionality associated with a product of this nature, but also has an automated competitions capability. This capability is unique and offers OK Foods much more flexibility and control in its annual Win-a-Bakkie competition, which traditionally - in the past - was a manual process.
Managing the competitions in the past has been cumbersome, with many challenges to ensure due process was followed, when entering the competition, collating entry forms and then during drawing the winners.
Competition entry at POS is either through scanning the customer's OK Count On card (Branded Infinity card). If it is not a card-carrying customer, Arch also prints an automated pin-number at the bottom of the till-slip, which he/she must SMS to a designated number for entry into the competition. This mode of operation ensures maximum entry capacity. In a recent interview with Tom Voges, Marketing Manager at OK Foods, he indicated the following benefits from this automated solution:
* "From a logistics point of view, it is phenomenal how quick and easy it is to get entries back; in the past it was a manual transport of entry slips, now it is only a push of the button."
* "Setting up competitions, where, say, 20 products are included, is now much easier, since it is centrally controlled."
* "Verification of entries and drawing a winner posed challenges in the past from a legal point of view, where due process had to be audited, whereas now the winner is the winner at the push of a button."
* "There is an ease of participation by member stores due to the automated nature of the competition - the only thing they have to do is to put up the posters announcing the competition."
* "Capturing all entry slips at head office used to be done manually, which was extremely time-consuming. Now all entries are captured automatically during the transaction at POS."
* "The competition gives us valuable marketing information both for internal use, but also provides suppliers with accurate, structured feedback on their products in the competition. The automated competition through Arch-Infinity has also proved to be more successful in the number of customers captured."
In summary, Tom Voges said the automation of the competitions through Arch-Infinity has markedly reduced management time and substantially increased returns from it. When approaching Francois Loots, CEO of Infinity Rewards, for his comments on the success of these integrated competitions, he said: "The strategic departure point with our loyalty solution is: it must be simple, easy to understand, for both the store owner and the customer. Feedback from the market on the automated competitions supports that."