As a shopping paradise, Hong Kong enjoys trading advantages like free economic zone and tariff-free zones. Before the pandemic outbreak, there were millions of tourists traveling to Hong Kong and thriving our retail industry. There are a lot of brands, shopping malls, as well as various loyalty programs launched by the merchants. However, to know about the offers and discounts promoted by the merchants, consumers have to install the different applications on their phones and register accounts. It is time-consuming and troublesome for tourists who only stay in Hong Kong for a few days. Hence, to enhance the shopping experience of the tourists, our client developed an offer platform gathering coupons and promotional information from different merchants and delivering it to the consumers, especially tourists.
Backstage content settings: Unlike building an original website or application, We are in charge of publishing different contents of a coupon collection event on the existing website of our client. We need to adjust and merch our application engine Aillia into the backstage of the client’s website so that users can publish their content to different promotion channels with a single setting. We have to also make sure the contents suit the layouts of different channels.
A large amount of traffic: The rewards are very tempting and various. Almost $30 million worth of coupon rewards were separated into 4 rounds of events for users to redeem, including categories like retail, dining, theme parks, and attractions. Because of the attractiveness of the event, thousands of users will visit the website at the same time to try redeeming the coupons, high traffic will be caused and there is a risk for the server to be overloaded and broke down. We have to control the number of available visitors of the website to be bearable for the server, as well as ensure they can leave at the right time.
Mobile phone verification: To participate in the coupon collection event, users will need to register their accounts with phone numbers to redeem the coupons, which means they need to verify their identity when registering. We have mentioned the importance of the mobile verification process when attracting new members in our previous article about online shopping. To ensure that the message sending and receiving speed and the whole verification process is stable and smooth, merchants and SMS service providers should keep in touch and adopt measurements when the traffic increases significantly. Otherwise, the users might apply repeatedly because of the failure of receiving the verification message, which hindered the application process as well as made the SMS system more overloaded.
Coupon format: As a platform that gathers coupons and offers information from different merchants, we have to find out some suitable coupon types to let users collect and redeem coupons from different merchants on the website. At the early stage of the project, we discussed the coupon types and their format to ensure that it is suitable and capable in terms of the design, using methods, and conditions for both users and merchants. In the first round of the event, our client decided to try one of the coupon formats first, which will be mentioned in detail in the solution part.
Boost Loyalty Rewards Program with Personalized White Label App
To learn more about boosting your loyalty rewards program with a personalized white label app, visit our page and experience the full-featured loyalty app with personalized offers and multiple owned channels approach!
Synchronizing API content: To publish rewards and content to multiple channels, we have adopted API (Application Programming Interface) as the connection between Aillia, the backstage content setting tool, and other promotional channels. The users only need to input the coupon or offer details on the backstage of Aillia, these contents will then publish to different selected channels with appropriate designs and layouts. In other words, even though the layouts and designs might be different for various promotional channels, the users only have to input their new content to Aillia once, then the content will be automatically published to all channels in a nice form, without the trouble of setting up for different platforms.
The “Queue it” System: As mentioned in the pain point part, we expected that the website would face a large amount of traffic during the four coupon collection dates. In order to prevent the server from being overloaded because of the high traffic, we suggested to the client to set up a “Queue it” system. The system will provide flexibility to client’s staff to control the traffic during the event, they could keep tracking and control the maximum number of visitors manually backstage. The system will be activated according to the traffic situation before the event started, users who successfully enter the website will have 30 minutes to browse and acquire offers, to ensure the traffic could be able to clear. The system will also calculate the estimated wait time for users for references.
Load testing: We care about the browsing experience of the users during the event. Therefore, when we are building the queuing system, we performed load tests and simulate different situations from time to time when we are still at the developing stage, to test out the work limit of the website when there are a huge amount of users visiting it. We then decided on the maximum number of visitors during the event based on the result of the load tests, as well as scheduled different measurements to respond to different situations.
Three verification plans: Considering a large number of visitors during the big discount event, and some of the visitors have not yet registered an account to redeem coupons, we concerned that the SMS system might not be able to send out thousands of messages at the same time, resulting in a traffic jam of verification messages. Therefore, our client would like to add two more verification plans – WhatsApp message verification and phone call verification – to provide verification codes for the users to register. Users may choose either one of the mentioned verifying methods and the SMS system will be less pressured.
QR code coupons: We mainly provide QR code coupons by the merchants for the users. There are three ways to use the coupons for the first round, and the users may directly use their mobile browsers to redeem and check their coupons in any of these three ways:
Successfully afforded a large amount of traffic: The first round of the event has successfully launched. Over 50,000 coupons and offers were claimed within an hour and the queuing server processed over 100,000 users without any overloads or breakdowns.
Various coupon types: The first round of the event provided 3 types of coupons for collaborated merchants, every merchant can choose the best way that suits their business operation. Even though some small businesses are limited on hardware or software support, they can make use of the merchant application developed by the platform to deliver coupons to customers without bearing the additional costs of developing a new coupon system in their POS. Large brands do not have to adjust their coupon system to recognize the event’s redeem QR codes, and the cost of digital promotion will be saved as well.
The first centralized coupon redeeming platform in Hong Kong: Although there are a lot of loyalty programs or coupon redeeming platforms, they all belong to the same group corporation, and the coupons will be limited to brands under the group. As a platform does not belong to any business group, the platform gathers merchants on different scales, from studios to big brands, and they can all deliver their coupons to the platform users. (The coupon will be uploaded by the backstage officer from the platform at its pilot stage, and it is hoped that merchants are allowed to upload content and coupons onto the platform by themselves in the future.) The platform can truly integrate offers and coupons from merchants all around Hong Kong on the same platform.
Seamless O2O Customer Journeys: CRM & Loyalty Platform
To learn more about our powerful O2O-centric CRM & Loyalty Platform, visit our page and discover the advantage of seamless O2O customer journeys and real-time interaction capabilities!
後台內容設置：與從零開發網站／應用程式不同，是次專案只需我們在客戶已有的網站上將優惠平台的內容 (contents) 更新到客戶希望發佈的行銷渠道上。我們需要將自家應用程式引擎 Aillia 調整並融入到網站的後台，希望能做到只需透過單次的設置便可將內容更新至所有已勾選宣傳渠道上，而且內容需要符合每一個渠道原有的陳列布局。
電話號碼驗證：在該優惠平台中註冊帳號需要用戶的電話號碼作為帳戶號碼，用戶需要驗證電話號碼註冊帳戶以領取優惠券。我們曾經在線上購物節文章中提到過在吸引新會員註冊活動中電話驗證流程的重要性，要保持穩定的驗證碼發送速度及確保驗證流程順暢，商家要與 SMS 服務供應商保持溝通，並在流量急增時採取措施，避免用戶因無法及時收到驗證短訊而重覆申請，除了拖慢申請流程還會進一步增加 SMS 系統負荷。
度身定制的 White Label 應用程式，升級忠誠獎勵計劃
API 同步內容：為了可以將新優惠和內容同步發放在多個已選的渠道上，我們使用了 API (Application Programming Interface/ 應用程式介面) 作為 Aillia 後台內容設置工具與其他宣傳渠道之間的中間人。管理員只需要在 Aillia 後台裡輸入活動／獎賞的細節，這些內容 (contents) 便會以符合各渠道陳列布局的設計與格式同步發放到所有已勾選的宣傳渠道上。換句話說，即使不同渠道使用不同的設計風格與內容陳列佈局，管理員亦只需要在 Aillia 後台將新內容設定一次，內容便會自動通過 API 同步更新到所有渠道，不用再重覆在各渠道的後台設定一次。
輪候系統：正如在個案挑戰中所提到，我們預期在四個派發獎賞的日子內網站都會出現龐大的流量。為了避免突如其來的大流量導致網站伺服器超載，我們建議客戶方設置輪候系統 (Queue it)。系統在派發活動期間能為客戶方提供彈性，技術人員可以在後台持續追蹤及透過輪候系統手動控制進入網站的人數上限，以進行人流管理。輪候系統將會在活動正式開始前由客戶方的工作人員跟據當時網站流量開啟，成功進入網站的用家將會有 30 分鐘時間瀏覽及領取優惠，以確保人流得以疏散。系統亦會根據等候者人數自動計算「預計等候時間」，為仍在輪候的使用者提供參考。
負載測試：我們十分重視使用者在整個領取優惠期間的網站使用體驗。故在架設輪候系統外，我們在籌備階段一直反覆對網站及輪候系統進行負載測試 (Load test) 及情況模擬，以測試出網站的最大工作量，即在面對大量使用者同時操作時它能應付的工作極限。由此決定在派發活動期間，後台應設定的網站人數上限；以及在不同人數下我們該採取的應變策略。
三個驗證方案選擇：考慮到在四批限量獎賞更新的時候都將會有大量流量湧入網站，亦會有大量未註冊的用戶即時申請新帳戶以領取優惠。我們擔憂按原方案單以 SMS 短訊發送驗證碼可能不足以在同一時間內負荷多達數千至數萬的短訊發送申請，從而造成短訊「塞車」。有見及此，我們的客戶希望可以新增多兩個驗證方法 － 分別是使用 WhatsApp短訊 及 語音來電驗證接收驗證碼。用家可以自由選擇使用哪一種方式進行驗證，同時幫助我們將電話驗證申請分流。
多樣優惠卷形式選擇：是次活動總共提供了三種優惠卷形式供合作夥伴選擇，合作商戶可選擇最方便自己的優惠券形式。即使是小本經營的商戶也能使用由我們的客戶提供的商戶版應用程式兌換用戶電子優惠卷，不需額外支付成本在原有的 POS 內發展電子優惠卷系統。大型商戶亦不需額外設定自家優惠卷系統來接受由客戶方生成的優惠券二維碼。
全港首個綜合電子優惠券平台：本地雖然也有多個優惠資訊平台及優惠會員程式，但它們往往分別由不同的大集團所掌管，商戶選擇或會偏向集團旗下的品牌。由於此優惠券平台並不隸屬於任何商業集團，不論是小工作室還是不同集團旗下的品牌，都能提供優惠卷 (現階段由客戶方的工作人員協助上載到優惠券平台上派發，而客戶方也正積極研究日後讓合資格商戶自行上載至平台) ，真正做到集合不同商戶的優惠資訊及優惠券在同一平台發放。