CHRIS Gorman’s The Gadget Shop chain has benefited from increased sales after becoming the first high-street retailer in the UK to send discount vouchers to customers’ mobile phones.
The vouchers, sent on a text message containing a bar code, saw customers spend an average of 50% more than other shoppers during their store visit.
The results from the one-week trial at its four London stores have led the Glasgow-based company to look at rolling out the technology throughout its 50-plus chain.
The marketing campaign, run in conjunction with mobile marketing company m-bar-go, offered potential customers a 10% discount.
Recipients were asked to present the text message at the till, where the electronic vouchers were read by the shop’s standard bar code reader.
The Gadget Shop’s IT director Gary Donoghue said the results of the trial were 'astonishing'.
'It appealed to us to try it because our customers are into technology and we are always looking at innovative ways to communicate with them.
'With other voucher schemes people find themselves out shopping but have left the voucher at home. But for most people now, their mobile phone is an extension of their arm and they always have it with them.
'The fact that the text message contains a bar code also makes people think they’ve actually got something rather than just sending them a discount code, and the fact they are getting money off encourages them to spend more.'
The company is now looking at using the technology across its store chain and for different marketing campaigns.
'The next stage is to look at other areas to take this into, such as informing customers about new products.'
Marc Lewis, of London-based m-bar-go, said: 'Because it is such an innovative retailer, The Gadget Shop was a natural choice for our first retailer programme and we were delighted with the response.'
The Gadget Shop relocated to Scotland earlier this year from Hull after Gorman bought it last May in a £10m deal backed by fellow entrepreneur Tom Hunter.
Gorman and his backers plan to invest £15m in 70 new stores employing 600 people in the UK and Ireland.
Gorman, who is from Hartlepool but settled in Scotland, made his first millions as a founder of the mobile phone store DX Communications, which was sold to BT Cellnet in 1999 for £42m.
Last week he was inducted into networking organisation the Entrepreneurial Exchange’s hall of fame in recognition of his contribution to the Scottish economy.
In his address to an audience at the Exchange’s annual dinner in Glasgow, he joked that he was 'proud to be Scottish' and had renounced his English birthright. 'This is the best place to be to do business,' he said, to loud cheers.
He also bought the Birthdays greeting cards chain earlier this year and has rebranded the 120 shops as Cards Direct.