O2UK intros location-driven loyalty programme

UK mobile operator O2 has announced a significant push into location based marketing services in a bid to drive customer loyalty. The Priority Moments service, which builds on the firm’s existing Priority loyalty scheme, sees the carrier partnering with a wide range of UK retail and leisure outlets to offer discounts and special offers to its customers.

Users of Apple and Android smartphones will access the services through an app, while feature phone users will be able to access it through a WAP-enabled website.

At a lavish press conference that showcased headline partners including high-end retail firm Harvey Nichols, book seller and newsagent WHSmith and the Odeon cinema chain, O2 stressed the importance of the new service in the retention of customers. UK marketing and consumer director Sally Cowdry claimed the firm enjoys the highest loyalty and lowest churn in the UK mobile space, and described the new offering as a “foundation stone” of its ongoing retention drive.

Cowdry said that O2 has sold 600,000 tickets to music events in the past two years as part of its Priority ticketing service. The firm sponsors the O2 venue, formerly the Millenium Dome, as well as a stable of smaller live music arenas.

She added that an O2 customer could save as much as £105 per month through the service, although this would involve that customer making two drips to the cinema, spending £25 in Harvey Nichols, journeying from London to Edinburgh on the National Express coach service and getting a haircut, a pizza, a book and some running shoes at other participating outlets.

At a time when mobile operators are looking like they’ve lost crucial ground to OTT players in the location space, Priority Moments is a major drive to harness the marketing and loyalty potential of location, rather than the revenue that many within carriers once thought could be unlocked. If this latest drive looks like a bid to retain relevance in the location value chain against such a backdrop, at least two of O2’s partners in the programme make good bedfellows.

Speakers from both the Odeon and WHSmith emphasised the importance of the programme for them in driving footfall to their outlets. With the increasing availability of their core products – films and books – available on other platforms and from other sources, they too risk being overtaken by other players.

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