ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Marketing Dive acquired Mobile Marketer in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out the new Marketing Dive site for the latest marketing news.

Unilever leverages mobile for retail promotion that tracks users? purchases

Unilever has teamed up with a Southern California grocery store chain for an in-store promotion that leverages mobile to make it easy for shoppers to track qualifying purchases and become eligible to win free concert tickets.

The promotion is taking place inside 36 Northgate Gonzalez Markets with the goal of driving mobile engagements for brands such as Axe, Dove and Ragu, raising awareness for two non-profits and helping the retailer build a mobile database. Mobile users can text in or scan a QR code to receive personalized shopping recommendations and product information, with those spending $50 on Unilever products receiving two free tickets to a Reyli concert on May 17 at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

?We wanted to create an opportunity for Unilever and our grocery partner that could track both the spending patterns of their credit card and cash customers,? Jonas Hudson, chief operating officer at CausePlay, Manhattan Beach, CA.

?We wanted to take the brand?s promotions that they do at retail and extend them digitally,? he said. ?Our goal is not to deliver banner ads, what we want to do is deliver engaging promotional marketing support for the user and customers.?

CausePlay developed the mobile-agnostic digital platform behind the program.

Push notifications
Northgate Gonzalez Markets serve predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods. The program is being advertised via in-store signage, island displays and local radio.

Users can text a keyword to short code or scan a QR code to enter the program. Then every time they shop at a Northgate Gonzalez Market, they give their mobile phone number to the cashier to get credit for their qualifying purchases.

For users who have a smartphone, they can download a new Northgate Gonzalez application that was created for the promotion. The app can be used to track purchases so users know how much they have to spend to reach the $50 goal.

The app, which was created using HTML5, will live on once the promotion is over to support future retail promotions. Every time users with the app installed on their phone walks into a store, they will receive a push notification highlighting the promotion of the week.

Once users reach the $50 goal, they receive a code that they can redeem inside the stores for their free tickets.

Closing the loop
In addition to offering product information and recommendations provides shoppers with information about two Hispanic-serving charities.

The two participating charities are Olive Crest, which provides a wide-range of social programs for at-risk children and families, and Red Eye, which strives to provide support for local communities and inner-city through creativity and community-building services.

More than 350 personal care and food products from Unilever can be purchased as part of the program including Axe, Dove, Suave, Lipton, Ragu, Breyers and Popsicle.

The goal of the five-week program, which runs until May 11, is to provide shoppers with a personalized shopping experience while providing them with useful information about important causes.

At the same time, the platform supports Unilever?s efforts by enabling it to track purchases and close the loop on its promotional spend and sales.

?We believe that the grocery stores have an incredible network that they see and touch daily,? Mr. Hudson said. ?Why give your data and your customers away to third party apps when you can control your users and serve messaging to them.

Unilever?s goal here was to support the grocery store at all costs - that?s why we figured that doing a private label app was the best way to do it,? he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York