"It is a real thrill to have won four New Generation Social & Digital Media Awards for developing an application (app) that uses artificial intelligence (AI)," says Flow Communications's chief technology officer Richard Frank.

"AI, used creatively, can be an ideal tool for solving marketing challenges, especially for small businesses wanting to differentiate their offering in a crowded marketplace," says Frank.

The award-winning app was developed for CarSpa, a car-washing business in Illovo, Johannesburg. It won Silver for Best Marketing Automation Campaign and three Bronze Awards for:
  • Best Use of AI in Marketing by an Agency
  • Most Innovative App Developed by a Corporate, and
  • Best Low-Budget Campaign.

The app, available on mobile, tablet and desktop, builds customer loyalty by automatically detecting a vehicle's number plate using number plate recognition algorithms and triggering messages to people who have signed up for a loyalty programme — offering them rewards for repeat visits.

In the first four months after the programme's launch, more than 250 customers had registered for the loyalty programme and received more than 600 loyalty messages via WhatsApp.

The top CarSpa loyalty programme member visited the business 39 times, and 32% of the business's customers were repeat visitors.

According to the agency, customers are prompted to sign up for the loyalty programme when they first visit CarSpa by scanning a QR code with their smartphones.

After a short registration form is filled out, each customer can opt to join a free loyalty programme or a paid membership programme. They then receive a welcome message via WhatsApp and a reminder of the benefits to be enjoyed in the loyalty programme.

Even if customers do not sign up for the loyalty programme, the AI system keeps records of their visits, giving CarSpa valuable analytics to support its future business decisions, such as:
  • the number of visits per day
  • the make and model of visiting vehicles, and
  • recognition of its top customers.

"We believe that AI tools merged with human marketing insight is a killer combination. The automation has allowed CarSpa to engage with its customers at the best possible moment — when they are actually using the service. This has definitely encouraged customer loyalty. We're keen to do more of this type of innovative merging of AI and human marketing insight," concludes Frank.

For more information, visit www.flowsa.com. You can also follow Flow Communications on FacebookX or on Instagram.