Van Schaik Rewards App to be launched soon

DECEMBER 2, 2016

The concept of building a customer loyalty programme is not new, however the art of integrating loyalty programmes with a lock screen replacement android app is very new to the South African market. In early 2017, Van Schaik Bookstore, will be one of the first South African companies to rollout just such an app – called the Van Schaik Rewards App… And it is set to make some waves!

Aimed mainly at students studying at tertiary education institutions around South Africa, the app enables students to earn virtual Rands and benefit from a whole host of other deals in an almost-passive manner. Stephan Erasmus, MD for Van Schaik Bookstores explains: “It is no secret – the youth are incredibly engaged in cell phone technology – whether they are engaging in social media, browsing the Internet, sharing pictures, or sending messages to their peers, they spend a lot of time on the phone. By turning this engagement into a way of making money, we believe we can offer our customers rewards that are really valuable to them.”

Taking the lead

The proud recipient of the Sefika Academic Bookseller of the Year Award for the last five years running, Van Schaik Bookstore is used to setting the benchmark for excellence in its field. Says Stephan Erasmus, MD for Van Schaik Bookstore: “When we repositioned the brand as far back as 2011, we introduced ourselves as a knowledge navigator – somebody that students could partner with on their journey to knowledge and future success. We shifted our focus so that it is all about helping students to get ahead, by growing their knowledge, creating opportunities and leading the way.

“With this in mind, we launched our Rewards Card in 2015 – quite a milestone for an academic textbook supplier and a great way to reward our customers.  It has been exceptionally well received, and to date, our Rewards Card membership numbers have grown to over 100 000,” Erasmus explains. However, never one to rest on their laurels, Van Schaik will once again be taking the lead with the launch of the Van Schaik Rewards App – offering students and partners alike, access to even better rewards.

Tangible benefits

With the new Rewards programme, students will be able to generate extra income for themselves, get access to free Wi-Fi and WhatsApp, and stay informed and entertained.

Erasmus explains: “At this time, when funding is such an issue with university students, it is great to know that Van Schaik is able to be proactive about the problem that their customers face, and introduce an innovative and easy way for students to earn rewards for themselves. Since students are interacting with their smartphones on a regular basis already, using the Van Schaik Rewards App offers them a way to earn an almost-passive form of income.”

At the same time, the new app offers an innovative and extremely effective way for partners and tertiary education institutions to reach students. Erasmus explains: “Mobile has become a vital platform for advertisers, but users often bemoan in-app pop-ups and other intrusive display ads – and the last thing we want to do is to alienate our loyal customers this way. The Van Schaik Rewards App can be targeted based on historical and real-time location data, purchasing patterns and in-app usage, presented to the user in a way that gently calls for engagement and doesn’t leave them with a sour taste in their mouths – after all, they will be rewarded each time they interact with the app, even if it just to unlock it.

So how does it work?

The new Van Schaik Rewards App makes the lock screen on android phones a source to view, and enjoy interesting content, and at the same time, rewarding the user with points every time they interact with the lock screen, which includes simply unlocking their screen.

The launch of the app will kick off as part of Van Schaik’s annual first semester campaign. When customers spend R750 or more, they will get a new SIM card with 300MB of free data. Current Rewards Members will be able to qualify as well, but without having to make a purchase first – all they need to do is to go into a bookstore, and swop their old Rewards Card for a new SIM card. The SIM card will function just like a normal SIM card, and you will be able to load airtime and data as you need it.

Once the SIM is RICA-certified (which customers can do in-store) and activated, users will be prompted to download the free Van Schaik Rewards App onto their android phones via a link. Once downloaded, each customer will register and create a unique, customised profile by selecting different topics of interest that they wish to receive info on. This can range from fashion and beauty, to sport, recipes, celeb news, what’s on in their area, and even info relevant to the courses they are studying.

To unlock more benefits, such as access to free Wi-Fi at all Always On hotspots, and free WhatsApp, as well as a selection of other desirable deals, users will have to spend a minimum of R99 on airtime or data during the preceding 30 days. They can do this by purchasing airtime or data in the form of a Van Schaik Rewards Top-Up, which will be available at any Van Schaik Bookstore or Pick ‘n Pay. Alternatively, they can use the points that they have earned and accumulated in their virtual wallet that exists on the app.

Students can increase points in four different ways:

  1. Through earning points on purchases at Van Schaik Bookstores.
  2. By interacting with advertisements on the app. The app will let advertisements appear on your lock screen. If you swipe to unlock your screen, and interact with the content or special deals, you will earn more Van Schaik points. Every time you unlock your screen, you will earn more cash.
  3. You can add money from your bank account.
  4. You can top-up your wallet at any Van Schaik Bookstore or Pick ‘n Pay.

A new cellular provider in the house

At the same time as the launch of the new app, Van Schaik Bookstore will be launching itself as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), aimed at providing cellular services throughout South Africa. It will be providing its own branded SIM card, called the Van Schaik SIM, and will be offering competitive rates in the local cellular market.

Says Erasmus: “In the digital age, staying connected is a vital part of life – our aim is to make connectivity accessible to everybody!”

Erasmus concludes: “We aim to cater to the ‘need for speed’ intrinsic in the youth culture – ensuring that there’s no waiting around to accumulate tangible credits before you can redeem them. We will be collaborating with a number of partners to make the content, offers, freebies and deals as beneficial and interesting as possible, as well as being able to offer students the ability to immediately reap the rewards of their interactions with the app. What’s more, is that Van Schaik Bookstore will be giving away a whopping R5-million worth of free airtime to the first 100 000 students who register.

“At the end of the day, instant gratification is a byproduct of the digital age – and yes, everyone expects to get what they want immediately. At Van Schaik Bookstore, we aim to give it to them – keeping things fast, but also keeping them real!