SmartClub Shanghai launches Transportation Points
The Shanghai-based loyalty programme, SmartClub, is to award Shanghai-resident members with SmartPoints each time they take subway, bus, or taxi transportation. SmartPoints earned in this way can then be combined with points earned at McDonald's, eLong, Sport100, cinemas, bookstores, and other SmartClub partner retailers.
There are six million Shanghai Public Transportation cards in active use, and the Shanghai Public Transportation Card Company has announced that 17 cities around Shanghai will also be using the same system for their municipal transportation, meaning that over 100 million consumers will have the option of earning SmartPoints for their public transport usage each day.
"The key to a successful coalition retail loyalty programme is to have an 'unavoidable retailer' so that consumers cannot avoid earning points regularly," said Henry Winter, CEO for SmartClub. "That brings them into the programme initially, and reminds them of the programme on a regular basis. In most major loyalty programmes in Europe, the U.S., and Australia, those 'unavoidable retailers' would be supermarkets or gas stations. SmartClub's 'unavoidable' retailer is Shanghai's entire public transportation system."
New retail partners McDonald's has also recently signed a five-year contract with SmartClub following a successful trial programme in summer 2003. "SmartClub lets us instantly run a loyalty programme that all of our customers can join, and that would be more difficult for us to do alone," explained Joy Lee, marketing director for McDonald's Shanghai.
In addition to managing the coalition loyalty points programme, SmartClub also provides direct marketing and market research services. The Chinese online travel agency, eLong, is the latest retail partner to join the programme, using SmartClub's data mining and customer predictor capabilities to cultivate and extract further value from its 1 million+ members.
Membership drive In 2004, SmartClub says it will be increasing its marketing activities to recruit more consumers. "What we offer retailers today is a powerful tool to increase the frequency and average spending of their existing customers," said Winter. "Now we'll also be able to offer an increasing number of our own existing members, all of whom are looking for new places to earn more SmartPoints. We'll also be announcing a major partnership with a bank soon."
Although SmartClub currently operates only in Greater Shanghai, the company is already in detailed talks to expand the programme to other major cities in China.