Sponsored content is premium paid-for content produced by the Irish Times Content Studio on behalf of commercial clients. The Irish Times newsroom or other editorial departments are not involved in the production of sponsored content.

Local businesses and Three customers reaping the benefits of 3Plus app

Three has opened up its loyalty app to small businesses, allowing them to reach new audiences

Originally launched in 2015, Three Ireland’s 3Plus loyalty app is now being used by businesses around Ireland to target users living locally and who may be visiting or passing through their area.

"The 3Plus loyalty and rewards programme is extremely popular," says Three Ireland digital media sales manager Richard Skelton. "We now have 750,000 users who have downloaded the app and use it regularly and it is growing by 3,000 every month. We use the app to leverage our partnerships with 3Arena and Irish football team and others to give our customers access to experiences money can't buy."

Up until late 2018, 3Plus was a national programme featuring major brands such as Peter Mark, Just Eat, Littlewoods Ireland, Kildare Village, Eddie Rockets, Eason, and Elvery's as partners who offered rewards and discounts to users. "Over the past year, we have begun offering it in specific towns where, through geofencing, businesses can give a special discount or offer to people in that specific area. We have already rolled this out in 20 counties and a number of large towns like Arklow, Castlebar, Galway city, Mullingar, Ennis and Killarney. "


The programme has grown to include 150 partners nationwide and 14,000 offers and discounts have been redeemed by customers to date. “By working with us, regional businesses are not only able to target our customer base, but also access a cutting edge platform that they would not have the marketing budget or expertise to create on their own.” Skelton points out.


The programme is a win-win for all concerned, according to Skelton. “Our customers get offers on events and entertainment, discounts in local shops and restaurants and a variety of other content on the app,” he says. “From our partners’ perspective they get access to the Three audience of 750,000 users, that is a very good reach. The mobile channel also means it is skewed towards a younger demographic and that is very attractive for brands to reach.”

The direct connection to customers is also important. “It’s in their back pocket and they can be reached at all times with offers.”

That in turn gave rise to the localised service. “We discovered a new opportunity for the app and for our customers and partners,” he explains. “If you are living in a town where Elvery’s or Eddie Rockets don’t have a store you still want to get offers in relation to sport, food and so on. This led us to expand the offer to local partners nationwide. We have some great offers across the country from fashion outlets, restaurants, sports, butchers, anything. We have a lot of small businesses on board, some are new businesses, some are old family businesses which are new to digital media.”

These local partners include Dough Bros in Galway, Patrick Burke's menswear store in Ennis, Garrick's Butcher in Limerick, O'Sullivan's Outdoor Store in Killarney, and Rock & Bowl leisureplex in Mullingar.

Seamless experience

The enhanced programme offers a seamless experience to the user. "When you open up the 3Plus app you get a variety of offers on movies, football, shopping and so on. But when you move around the country, we geofence it for towns and counties to ensure you are getting relevant offers to the local area. If you are in Kerry, you will see all the local Kerry offers on top. If you went to the Fleadh in Drogheda, you would have received local offers and you could have checked on those offers before you set off."

The ability to measure the effectiveness of campaigns is another benefit for local businesses. "Once the user sees the offer, they can get a code on their phone," Skelton explains. "Take Dough Bros in Galway, for example. A customer downloads a code for an offer on pizza to their phone and redeems it in-store. That's the Holy Grail of sales promotions. We have connected the mobile and online worlds with the physical world. Our partners are able to see how many people downloaded the codes and how many were redeemed. We have joined the dots for them and they can adjust their offers if there is a low redemption rate or a poor download rate. You can't do that on Google or any other channel.

“We are opening up a new digital media channel for local businesses,” he continues. “The feedback has been great. Not only are our partners reaching people who live in their local area but potential customers who are visiting or passing through as well. They are also seeing younger people coming into their stores. The brand positioning is great. Possibly the most important thing is that they are seeing real results in terms of footfall.”

The focus remains very much on Three customers, however. “This is our first year of going local with 3Plus. We are very consumer focused and we want to make our customers happy. If we can make our partners happy as well that’s a bonus. We now have 150 partners in 20 counties around the country and we haven’t finished yet.”