Today’s interview is with Jess Stephens, Director and Co-founder of TagPoints, a mobile proximity marketing platform that uses beacon technology to help retailers gain loyal customers and generate valuable data. Jess joins me today to talk about her company, their growth, customer loyalty and what they are doing differently.
This interview follows on from my recent interview: Not having contracts equalises our relationship with our customers – Interview with John Marick of Consumer Cellular – and is number one-hundred and four in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, helping businesses innovate, become more social and deliver better service.
Here are the highlights of my interview with Jess:
- TagPoints is a start-up that has been going for just over a year, although the idea has been in R&D for a little longer than that.
- They work with retailers and shopping centres/malls to help them develop customer loyalty and are focused on the ‘golden’ metric of customer retention.
- Jess cut her teeth in the field of email marketing and has a love of spreadsheets, pivot tables and data.
- Tagpoints is combining all sorts of elements like CRM, big data analysis, database integrations, NFC technologies, beacon technology (sometimes referred to as iBeacons), WiFi and triangulation, and native smartphone applications to help retailers drive increased customer loyalty.
- These types of initiatives have been around for a wee while in the USA, with Macy’s being the first to utilise this type of technology. However, it’s only just arrived in the UK and Europe.
- The way it works is that once the customers are near one of the stores of their favourite retailer, the iBeacon technology ‘wakes’ up the retailer’s app that customers have downloaded and allows the retailers to gift their customers loyalty bonuses/points in order to drive traffic to their stores.
- This technology is not just used by individual retailers but can be best deployed by shopping centre/mall operators and department stores as a way of offering and developing a better and fuller ‘experience’ when customers come to their locations.
- The technology can also be used in tandem with a ‘Click and Collect’ service, where the technology and app can reward customers by giving them option to queue jump thus providing additional ‘soft’ benefits as valued customers.
- The technology is not just about driving extra sales and giving away loyalty points, offers, discounts and rewards but also allows retailers to focus on providing more ‘soft’ benefits that have a positive impact on the relationship that the customer has with the business.
- Monetary incentives to develop loyalty are not enough.
- Real and sustainable loyalty has to be earned and cannot be bought.
- TagPoints ask their clients to think about how they can make their customers feel special and how they can surprise them.
- Jess doesn’t know if we are getting more demanding as consumers but she does think that we, as consumers, expect to be and want to be known.
- Jess believes that customers want businesses to know what they have done before, regardless of what channel they have used, and want experience to be consistent across channels – the elusive single-view of the customer. And, that is the bare minimum that customers expect from businesses.
- Jess provides a number of case studies of how they have implemented their technology including what they have done at The Swan Centre in Eastleigh.
- Whilst their current vertical is retailers and shopping centres, they can see all sorts of applications for airports, football clubs etc etc.
- They expect to see rapid uptake in this technology, particularly with the announcement that Apple are going to introducing beacon technology into iOS8 and the development of mobile payments.
- One of their business missions is to utilise their technology to help re-invigorate the ‘high street’.
About Jess (adapted from her LinkedIn bio)
Jess has worked in digital and mobile marketing for the duration of her career gaining a breadth of experience from the boot-strap start-up world through to established corporate brands like MoneySupermarket and Filofax.
She is currently Director and Founder of TagPoints – the mobile marketing platform that can be white-labelled for any business and is unashamedly enthusiastic about data and the difference smart analysis can make to a business.