Greggs rolls out mobile payment app

Greggs the baker is looking to make payments more convenient and reward customer loyalty with a new mobile app it has rolled out across its store estate this week.

Dubbed Greggs Awards, the scheme has been developed using Eagle Eye's digital transaction network, which can provide customers with real-time offers that can be redeemed at the point of sale. Greggs says the system speeds up the payment process, reduces the chance of fraud and removes the need for customers to carry physical loyalty cards and coupons.

Plans for the mobile app were mooted in August last year, as reported by Essential Retail at the time, but the system officially went live across it store portfolio this week.

Last summer, CEO Roger Whiteside said that Greggs had "leapt over yesterday's technology" by investing in the mobile app, and the new system certainly boasts some innovative features.

Today, he added: "We’ve spent a lot of time talking to and listening to our customers and have found through extensive consumer testing in the run up to the launch, that a simple but rewarding scheme is something that they want to fit with their on-the-go lifestyles.

"Customers can quickly pay for their favourite food and drinks via their smartphone, to be rewarded with exclusive, personalised offers and free tasty treats which we will continue to introduce and develop throughout the forthcoming months."

By registering for a Greggs Rewards account via the app or the company's official website, customers can top up their accounts with any amount from £5-£50 using a debit/credit card or PayPal. They can then use their smartphone to pay securely in-store.

On the loyalty side, Greggs will aim to reward customers with a number of offers, including a free breakfast on opening an account with at least £20, hot drink incentives, a birthday treat and monthly prize draws. In addition, PayPal is also giving the first 10,000 Greggs customers a free £5 bonus credit to spend when they sign up and register for auto-top up with PayPal.

Rob Harper, head of retail services at PayPal UK, commented: "This exciting collaboration with Greggs is another step on the journey towards a wallet-less high street, where customers will be able to leave their wallet or purse at home and pay using their smartphone or tablet.

"We predict that by 2016 you won't need your wallet to pay on the UK high street – your smartphone will be enough – this is a great example of what we mean."

The Greggs mobile app announcement comes on the day the business revealed its preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 28 December 2013, which showed that like-for-like sales dropped 0.8% year-on-year and pre-tax profits tumbled 18.9% to £41.3 million.

The company conducted a strategic review that aims to bring long-term profitability to the business, achieved through the restructuring of its supply chain operations, IT systems and the refreshing of its near 1,700 store portfolio. The new strategy could result in the loss of more than 400 staff, but Whiteside is confident that the retailer's plans will see sales and profit growth return to the business in the future.

Greg Bromley, retail consultant at industry analyst firm Conlumino, said: "Despite facing a challenging year, the outlook for Greggs is fairly positive.

"The retailer's turnaround plan, though inevitably impacting profits, will prove of utmost important for its long-term future performance in turning around like-for-like sales. We believe that a major focus for Greggs must be to ensure that its refreshed stores provide an appealing proposition at all times of year, regardless of the weather, to prevent sporadic sales slumps as suffered over 2013."