Westfield knows a thing or two about real estate. And yet, they’ve launched an app which hardly justifies why anyone with a smart phone should dedicate any real estate to it, let alone on the prime location of the home screen.
Let me tell you why.
Here are all of the reasons that Westfield lists on their website as to why consumers should join Westfield Plus:
- Discover the latest promotions, offers and events
- Activate your Digital Gift Card and check the balance
- Explore centre map and directory
- Extended free parking at selected centres
- Check parking time and set a reminder at selected centres
- Book a table at some of your favourite restaurants through the app
The website then lists the Westfield centres at which the Westfield Plus app is available; 37 of them. However, “Extended free parking”, which is arguably the best benefit out of the six outlined above, is only available at 11 centres, or 29% of the total.
That’s an immediate disappointment to a majority of consumers who download the app and what’s more, a strong driver of disengagement.
For members who frequent the 11 centres with the extended free parking, it’s a good news story. I tested it at Westfield Bondi Junction, and it worked seamlessly.
For members wishing to “Discover the latest promotions, offers and events”, the Westfield Plus app has a social media type feed with promotional tiles. For example, there’s a “Buy 1, get 50% off all shirts and bottoms” offer from Tarocash and an “Up to 50% off selected items” at JD Sports.
It should however be noted that these same offers are available to everyone (not just members) and can be seen on retailer websites by any consumer. I do recognise that the wording of this benefit doesn’t actually promise member value, however, when asking consumers to join a program, there is an expectation of value and this misses the mark.
Nevertheless, what the app does well is collate all these offers in the one place for easy discoverability.
The range of benefits that are truly valuable is minimal. Take away the parking and the discoverability of offers and promotions and you’re not left with much. For instance, is the ability to activate a gift card and check its balance really a benefit? It could be handy if you regularly receive Westfield gift cards, but most people don’t.
How about exploring the centre map and directory? For those frequenting their local Westfield who know exactly where everything is, this probably isn’t much of a benefit either.
And the ability to book a table at Westfield’s restaurants? With many existing restaurant booking engines that have significantly broader usage, I expect this benefit to be forgotten about quite quickly.
A somewhat interesting proposition in the app feed is a Spend & Get promotion. Members must spend a minimum of $50 cumulative across participating Westfield retailers (excl. major supermarkets) in a single day, then present their receipts and Westfield Plus membership card at the service desk to receive a gift, until stock of the gift runs out. The promotion runs for 3 weeks and each week there is a new prize up for grabs. Members can redeem a maximum of 1 gift per week, which is fair enough.
Naturally, I took it upon myself to investigate just how many people are likely to extract value from this. This is where it gets a bit ugly.
Westfield Eastgardens for example, has 10.6m customers go through the centre per year. Assuming much greater footfall around the holidays, Christmas time and the like, you’d still expect at least 100k – 150k customers go through the centre during the weeks of the promotion. You’re probably wondering how much stock of the gift Westfield Eastgardens has in Week 1, right? It’s 1,000 units. That’s right, it’s 1% or less of the anticipated footfall during that same week.
Again, you can bet there will be disappointed members who have made the effort to spend as per the terms and conditions of the promotion and have done so for nothing.
Westfield Miranda, a somewhat bigger centre, has 13.2m customers go through the centre per year. Their gift stock quantity in Week 1 is 2,000 units. Even if using the same conservative baseline numbers of 100k – 150k customers per week, that is still less than 2% of members who can potentially secure the gift.
So what you have here is the potential to disappoint a lot of members.
The missed opportunity
Value, value, value. This is a key theme across so many programs that are launched into market. Instead of investing into surface gloss and glamour, I urge brands to invest in member engagement, which is directly driven by providing a strong value equation and an opportunity for all members to extract it.