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CafeXpress convenience store runs mobile coupons pilot

August 25, 2009

cafexE.A. Sween Co.’s Deli Express, a provider of food services to convenience stores, has run a mobile couponing pilot in advance of a commercial rollout in its CafeXpress convenience store.

CafeXpress tapped Mobilocity for technology allowing a coupon to be displayed by consumers’ mobile device and scanned at the point of sale. CafeXpress wanted to use mobile to promote its store-within-a-store concept, offering hot and cold drinks and ready-to-prepare food such as pizza, hot and cold sandwiches, hot dogs, brats and corn dogs.

“CafeXpress’s objectives for the mobile couponing campaign were to capture more sales from consumers already in the convenience store and drive people to the convenience store to redeem the offers,” said Michael Baum, managing partner of Mobilocity, Minneapolis, MN.

“The target audience was the college student community a few blocks away at the University of Minnesota,” he said. “CafeXpress sees mobile as a way to reach this particular demographic—the college student.”

E.A. Sween Co. began as a franchise of the Stewart Sandwich Co. in 1955.

Today, as the manufacturer of the No. 1 selling sandwich brand, Deli Express is a leading supplier to the convenience store industry. Its CDC division provides distribution services to 7-Eleven stores.

Mobilocity offers full CRM database capabilities to distribute specific offers for specific products to specific customers and the ability to change or eliminate any given offer at any time.

The company specializes in the delivery of offers at the point of sale via location-based functionality.

Mobilocity offers next-day reporting of redemption activity for manufacturers and real-time reporting of redemption activity to retailers at both corporate and store levels.

To get consumers to opt in to the SMS database, CafeXpress used various methods to issue the mobile call-to-action, including in-store signage and table tents, flyers distributed around campus and sales associates at the point of sale prompting consumers to sign up to receive discount offers.

CafeXpress also placed an ad in the university’s student newspaper.

The calls-to-action offered consumers the opportunity to receive discounts on food and drink in exchange for registering.

Interested consumers were directed to text the keyword CAFEX to short code 55782.

To further encourage registration, CafeXpress ran a sweepstakes with the chance to win a free pizza.

Each week, a text message with an offer was sent to the database of subscribers.

The SMS contained information about the offer and a WAP link to the coupon.

One offer read as follows: “Present this bar code at checkout to receive buy one get one free CafeXpress roller grill items.”

Other offers included $1.00 off any sandwich, $1.00 off any size espresso and buy one slice of pizza get one slice free.

Each offer ran for approximately two weeks. Of those that responded to the call-to-action Mobilocity tracked a 5.5 percent coupon redemption rate.

Mobilocity’s technology allowed the POS scanners currently in use at the convenience store to scan the bar code that accompanied the coupon. 

“CafeXpress has struggled in the past to find a vehicle which would deliver a satisfactory response,” Mr. Baum said. “Mobile represented the potential for a higher return than experienced previously with other media—and it did deliver.”

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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