The Lincolnshire Co-op Dividend App is an example of how, for something to appear simple and easy to use, it needs to do a lot of work behind the scenes.
The concept for a new Dividend App began when Lincolnshire Co-op started an upgrade to their internal systems and issued replacement Dividend Cards to each of their 280,000 members. Dividend allows members to collect and spend their dividend at the point of sale.
Until then, members had always used a plastic card to collect their dividend. The system upgrade provided an opportunity to introduce a digital offering, which seemed to be the natural expansion of the system in the age of contactless payments and smartphones.
The new cards would use QR codes instead of the old smart card technology. The QR codes could be shown on a mobile device and scanned at the point of sale. There was initially a problem with scanners being unable to scan a QR code displayed on a screen due to the screen's reflection. Lincolnshire Co-op overcame this problem by installing new 2D scanners across all their stores, which could more easily read a QR code or take a picture of the screen if the scan failed.
With that issue solved, the race was on to develop the Dividend App in time for the launch of the new Dividend Card in September 2017.
Building the App
We designed and built the app using the Ionic Framework and integrated it into Co-op's head office systems using a secure API. After logging in, the App gives the member an opportunity to store a PIN before displaying a screen with their dividend total and unique QR code.
To show this, the App does plenty of work. Firstly, it checks the status of the Internet connection (as connectivity across Lincolnshire can often be difficult) before requesting information from the secure API. If a 4G connection is available, then the member Dividend is updated automatically. If no 4G connection is available, the App automatically switches to an 'offline mode' so it can be used quickly at the checkout.
Following a successful trial, the Dividend App launched in September 2017. As of May 2018, it has now been downloaded 11,600 times on Apple iOS and 8,041 times on Android devices.
Since launch, the Dividend App has become an essential component of the Lincolnshire Co-op's drive to engage with members on their platform of choice which is increasingly digital and in particular via mobile apps.
We have had great feedback from new members who have joined because we now have an app, as they didn’t want a physical dividend card. We envisage this increasing as we all rely more on our phones for payment and many other functions. We have already run a focus group for our app users to get their feedback and hear their suggestions for improvements which we are building in to our development plans. It will continue to evolve, and that’s really exciting!
- Laura Dunne, Head of Marketing & Membership, Lincolnshire Co-op