On 19th December, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), the country’s leading operator, encouraged its clients to totally forget its stores existed. It closed all 220 branches across 118 cities in the Kingdom’s 2.1 million square kilometers of territory. No warning. No prior notice. Instead STC went to its clients. Using the closed store fronts as an invitation, STC redirected people to its suite of digital self-service channels – MySTC app, MySTC Shop, MySTC 900 and the telco demonstrated its pivotal role in spearheading the digital revolution in Saudi Arabia and moving the country into the future.
The country’s digitization is at the heart of Vision 2030 and STC as the national operator has a leading role to play in digitizing the nation and helping Saudi adapt to the realities of new technology. And with STC’s fundamental value of “customer first”, evolving customer service no longer means increasing customer service agents but rather providing more speed, facilitation & information. To lead and deliver in an era of customer first and digitization, STC has developed a suite of self-service applications MySTC app, MySTC Shop, MySTC 900 – However, STC had been offering digital alternatives for a while, yet customers still chose to complete their transactions in the traditional way at a branch.
Describe the creative idea/insights
Saudis prefer to carry out even basic of transactions in person, rather than online and the low use of STC suite of digital applications was driven by a number of reasons- They were Skeptical of technology or Are aware of the offering, but didn’t realise the number of transactions they could do without going to the branch , or not aware at all of STC’s digital alternatives.
So we Closed STC’s Branches. We Ripped off the band aid where consumers had no choice but to overcome their skepticism and adapt. By closing its stores, STC would demonstrate dramatically that the digital services could replace them
Describe the strategy.
Shutting down one of the nation’s biggest retailer is no easy feat, and we wanted to manage reactions. For this we trained all employees for consistent messaging- we partnered with influencers that could walk our audience through the steps as the and we targeted key media outlets to have them cover the story such as MBC, al Arabiya and al Riyadh. More significantly, we turned every one of our closed retail branches into outdoor space, and an invitation to customers to use STC’s digital suite.
Describe the execution.
On 19 December 2019, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), the country’s leading operator, encouraged its clients to totally forget its stores existed. It closed all 220 branches across 118 cities in the Kingdom’s 2.1 million square kilometers of territory.
No warning. No prior notice. We turned every closed shop front into an invitation to customers to use one of the self -service channels. Posters and leaflets took customers through app usage steps and we had staff on hand to demonstrate the steps. Promoters were on hand to demonstrate it,
And self-service machines replicated the ease of the online experience.
Targeted online educational videos explained how to use the digital services and
We collaborated with influencers who illustrated and demonstrated how easy it was to use the digital suite of applications.
List the results.
- MySTC’s store sign-up increased by 13%
- Digital transactions increased by 12%
- Sales rose by 86% on digital channels
- Sales rose by 500% on the MySTC app
- In 24 hours, #STCclosingitsstores generated 20 million social impressions and was Saudi Arabia’s number one trending topic on Twitter, and second in the world.
- Google Play data recorded a 14% increase in weekly active users of MySTC app which was sustained well after the activation
- Google search data demonstrated "My STC" keyword grew by 24% in the 3 weeks following the store closures
- Google search data also chronicled a sudden increase in specific keywords such as "esales" and "900 stc"
- We generated 1.2 Million USD in earned PR Value
But perhaps the most notable outcome was seeing STC act as an impetus to move the nation’s digital transformation forward into uncharted territories.