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Sponda brings the perks of online stores to brick-and-mortar shops

Sponda Plc                  
Press Release        
25 February 2015, 10:15

Sponda brings the perks of online stores to brick-and-mortar shops

The Citycenter VIP-Key developed jointly by Sponda and the advertising agency TBWA brings cookies, a familiar feature of online stores, to brick-and-mortar shops for the first time anywhere in the world. The key works much like cookies on the Internet. The VIP-Key stores data on the customer’s buying behaviour.

This Finnish innovation, known by the name Physical Cookie, has already attracted worldwide interest. The Citycenter shopping centre in the Makkaratalo building in Helsinki has put this new technology to use by launching an entirely new kind of customer loyalty system for its customers.

GDR Creative Intelligence, a consumer marketing research and consulting company based in the UK, recently made the VIP-Key the first Finnish product to be featured in its quarterly Global Innovation Report. The VIP-Key has also been covered by innovation-focused online publications such as ycn.comcoolest-gadgets.comlbbonline.com and creativecriminals.com.

Better service for loyal customers

The loyal customers of Citycenter are provided with a VIP-Key that contains a small RFID tag. It allows customers to be identified as soon as they enter the shopping centre in order to offer personalised services to them. The VIP-Key has already increased the number of shopping visits and visitors to Citycenter in Helsinki.

– We can now provide better service to customers as soon as they enter the shopping centre. With traditional customer loyalty cards, the information on the customer is obtained at the time of the purchase or even afterwards. We believe that these types of services will become increasingly common, and they will make shopping centres more attractive in relation to online stores, says Henrik Stadigh, Director of Sponda’s Shopping Centres unit.

Making shopper marketing smarter

Digital advertising displays in Citycenter read data from the Physical Cookie and use it to make assumptions about the visitor’s interests. Personalised offers and marketing messages are then displayed on screens in the shopping centre. The content of the messages is also influenced by information programmed into the system, such as the weather, the time and the shopping centre’s events.

No registration required

No personal details or identification data is stored on the key. The service only identifies the VIP key, not the person carrying it. The VIP-Key was developed and patented in partnership between Sponda and TBWA Helsinki’s Pilot innovation unit. Juha-Matti Raunio, Head of Pilot, considers the VIP-Key’s technical solution to be better from the customer’s perspective than iBeacon, which is a transmitter installed in Apple’s mobile devices. The transmitter sends data on the user’s movements to businesses that use iBeacon.

– iBeacon is based on sending push messages to the mobile device, regardless of the user, when Bluetooth is enabled. The Citycenter VIP-Key is designed on the consumer’s terms, and instead of sending push messages, it adapts the environment according to the consumer’s behaviour, Raunio explains.

More information about Physical Cookie can be found from Sponda Magazine: http://magazine.sponda.fi/en/phenomena/citycenter-vip-eng/.

Watch video: https://vimeo.com/120560421.

Sponda Plc

Further information:

Henrik Stadigh, Director, Shopping Centres, Sponda Plc, +358 50 324 2800

Juha-Matti Raunio, Vice President, Head Of PILOT\, TBWA\Helsinki +358 40 506 4000

Sponda Plc is a property investment company specializing in commercial properties in the largest cities in Finland. Sponda’s business concept is to own, lease and develop retail and office properties and shopping centres into environments that promote the business success of its clients. The fair value of Sponda’s investment properties is approximately EUR 3.1 billion and the leasable area is around 1.2 million m².

TBWA\Helsinki is the most internationally awarded marketing agency group in Finland. We specialise in growing our clients’ brand value with modern brand behavior. Our expertise covers holistic strategic and creative planning of marketing communications as well as production. We combine marketing with the latest technological opportunities and innovations. Additionally, our special units serve our customers in retail marketing, productisation of brand innovations and in real time marketing services.