The program, dubbed Mobile Retail Rewards, makes the platform for the app that backed Chiquita’s FanFun Sweepstakes, Little League sponsorship and brand-building efforts commercially available for retail and consumer packaged goods companies.
It launched Sept. 4, said Adam Lavine, co-founder and chief executive officer of Pleasanton, Calif.-based FunMobility. Costs vary, but start at $899 monthly; more information is available online.
The platform is prepackaged with location-based marketing widgets like store finders, check-ins and unlockable digital rewards and coupons. The service works with existing marketing programs and offers analytics and consumer relationship management.
Retailers participating in Chiquita’s smartphone app included Target, Safeway, Wal-Mart, Kroger Co. and Sprouts Farmers Market, Lavine said.
Once inside a store, consumers use the app to “invite” whatever rewards are on offer.
“They must opt in; there’s no background tracking,” he said. “Of those who registered for the app, 28% took it to a retail location and checked in. It shows they interact with a brand, which has a lot of value, and it shows retailers Chiquita is using technology to drive consumers to their stores, adding value to stocking their products.”
Rewards vary by retailer from coupons and redeemable points to sweepstake entries, games, ring tones and others. Some stack rewards, making them greater with increased visits. Some offer shoppers a choice among rewards.
Chiquita’s app was developed in six weeks. Another element of it, a Little League card maker with the grower-shipper’s brand, was used by about half who downloaded the app, Lavine said.
Apps allow for future communication with consumers in newsletters, promotions and offers. Existing apps can add on a software development kit to obtain FunMobility widgets. The company’s apps cross the mobile web, Apple iOS and Android platforms.
One survey, Lavine said, found smartphones are rated important by 96% of chief executive officers, but only 17% have a mobile strategy.
“Without that in place, you’re doing spray and pay with your mobile dollars,” he said. “One person we talked to at a trade organization said they spent $1.2 million for mobile marketing and got bupkus out of it. Too many cooks in the kitchen.”