Japan: Supermarket launches targeted mobile e-fliers
A Japanese supermarket is using mobile phones to send e-fliers to its target groups of customers. The savings could be immense.
Japanese consumers have not been as quick as some to start doing business on the internet. Rather surprisingly, the number of consumers using computers is still quite limited, especially among women who are middle-aged or older. However, with the advent of technology that provides internet access via mobile phones the situation is changing rapidly. Far more consumers of all age groups now have internet access and, more importantly, at all times they no longer have to return home and log on to be connected. In addition, more women than men own internet mobile phones.
email fliers Japanese retailers are now moving in to capitalise on these developments. Nissho, a 27-store supermarket chain based in the Kansai region of Japan, has just launched a new service called "email flier." This can be accessed either via computer or mobile phone, and provides participating consumers with daily updates on promoted products, including special prices, recipes and nutritional information. Links are provided to other related products on the web page.
The information on the email flier is available both on Nissho's web site or via misbit.com, a portal designed to introduce consumers to various stores, promotions and related news.
Savings The cost advantages for retailers are significant and come from two directions. It is estimated that annual retail sales of Japanese supermarkets total some 100 trillion yen (GB£55 billion) and, of this, some 1-1.5% (1-1.5 trillion yen or GB£556-834 million) is spent on flier and direct mail advertising. Each paper flier costs between 5 and 15 yen, including printing and distribution. In much the same way that a home PC user pays for an internet connection, the recipient pays for the email service from the mobile phone service provider. Users are usually charged each time they send an email via mobile phone, but the cost of receiving them is included in the basic plan. This means that the cost of distributing e-fliers is reduced effectively to almost nothing: just the cost of creating the flier and managing its distribution. In addition also a significant saving - paper fliers are distributed randomly, while e-fliers are targeted at specific groups of customers, using previous purchase information.
Users can access the service using a variety of terminals: cell phones, using NTT DoCoMo's i-mode (a non-voice, data communications service introduced in February 1999), AU and Tu-ka's EZ web, or J-PHONE's J-sky Long email, or any computer that has access to the internet. As of October 2001 there were 28 million i-mode subscribers in Japan.
Source: The Continuity Company, Japan