LONDON — Harvey Nichols is launching its first loyalty scheme in the form of a newsy, product-packed app — rather than a piece of plastic.
Customers will be able to download and start using the free app as of today, with the full launch, and related ad campaign, planned for July 16.
In addition to notching rewards points for customers, the app will link automatically with the Harvey Nichols Instagram feed, deliver news blasts about products, promotions, launches and exclusives — and eventually tie into in-store beacon technology.
If customers don’t have their phones with them in-store while they’re making a purchase, they’ll later be able to keep their points up to date by swiping the barcodes on the sales receipts on their mobile devices.
“This is about who we are now as a store, and who we want to be. It’s a nice way of delivering what loyalty will be in the future — and getting a card out of your purse is not the future,” said Shadi Halliwell, group marketing and creative director, who joined Harvey Nichols last year from the mobile phone company O2. “Customers want to be rewarded for their loyalty, and we found that customers who are loyal spend three times more than those who are not.”
While she declined to reveal the store’s investment in the new program, she acknowledged that loyalty schemes don’t come cheap. “They are always a financial burden, but the question you have to ask is this: ‘What doesn’t a store have when it doesn’t have a loyalty scheme?’ This is not about discounting.”
Halliwell, who worked with the digital product design company Ustwo to develop the app, said the aim was to create “a seamless experience,” and added that the store took pains to ensure that the visuals look different every time a customer clicks into it.
Kate Rees of Ustwo said: “Our research told us that plastic loyalty cards, jammed into a bursting wallet, are no longer what customers want.” She added that the app would also allow the store to gather feedback and use it to improve the technology.
Customers will earn one point for every pound they spend, and receive store vouchers — or in-store services and experiences worth more than the voucher — every quarter.
The loyalty program will apply to all Harvey Nichols stores in the U.K. and will include food, grooming, beauty and the store’s OXO Tower Restaurant in the City of London. The program will eventually be rolled out to its stores internationally.
The app offers four grades of loyalty — silver, gold, platinum and black — which come with a series of automatic benefits such as the in-store style concierge service, gift wrapping, special offers and complimentary samples.
The top black-level benefits include express alterations and returns, an at-home stylist, secret sales and beauty tutorials. In addition, as customers spend pounds and notch points, they’ll be able to amp up the value of their rewards and even move to a new level. Rewards will be dispatched in September, December, March and July.
A 250 pound, or $383, spend during any given quarter may be rewarded with a voucher worth 10 pounds, or $15, or in-store services worth more, such as a manicure or eyebrow shaping.
A 2,500 pounds, or $3,830, spend may yield a 100 pound, or $153, voucher or a massage, while an 18,200 pound, or $27,890, spend earns a 1,000 pound, or $1,532 voucher, or a Champagne dinner for four at the OXO Tower.
The store has been radically rethinking its approach to omnichannel sales and to overall service following the arrival last year of Stacey Cartwright, formerly chief financial officer at the digitally savvy Burberry.
Cartwright told WWD last fall that she planned to take the company’s Web site international, turning it multicurrency, and ultimately multilingual, with amped-up international deliveries.The store’s new style adviser service is available on the Web site and allows customers to live-chat, e-mail or speak directly with staff who can pull looks from the floor for customers to try on in a suite on the third floor of the Knightsbridge flagship. There is no minimum spend, and a makeup service is available, too, while click-and-collect customers can also use the suite to try on their purchases.