Woolworths Mobile - delivering fresh mobile experiences

Telstra Wholesale
Woolworths Mobile: delivering fresh mobile experiences
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Woolworths Mobile: delivering fresh mobile experiences

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Woolworths is one of Australia’s most recognisable and valuable brands synonymous with fresh produce and great value. The supermarket brand entered the mobile market in 2015 in partnership with Telstra Wholesale to help customers access the latest smartphones at an affordable price. Over the last two years, the brand has been on a journey to sharpen their competitive edge in the mobile market. We spoke to James McMurrough, Head of Woolworths Mobile to find out more.

The Woolworths Mobile journey

Woolworths Mobile stood out in the market from the beginning. “We launched as one of the first MVNOs to sell smartphones with post-paid plans, helping to offset a pre-paid market that was declining at the time, and establishing our mobile brand”, James says.

“We learned a lot from those first few years and in 2018 it was time to be really clear on our role and our purpose in the market.

The Woolworths Mobile team wanted to focus on its target customer base, and use the brand’s core competencies to create a unique and compelling proposition in the market.

“Our starting point was asking ourselves how we can better serve our core target market of new and older families — and then how we use technology to help us deliver a better mobile experience.”

Ticking off mobile customers’ shopping list

“Our customers’ main criteria for choosing a mobile service have remained consistent for some time. They want great value plans, good data allowances and reliable network coverage. But the nature of families’ needs, and how they determine value, change as they do over time”, James explains. “There has definitely been a shift in emphasis from price to value.”

Understanding those requirements enables Woolworths to create new mobile plans and services that deliver value to the different customer segments. Parents of school-age children for example like to have control over their children’s devices to keep them safe.

“It was vitally important for us to create family plans responsibly. We listened to what parents wanted from a plan for their kids, created a simple product with some data and parental control, delivered in partnership with the FamilyZone application.”

Woolworths has also had success with pre-paid plans, partnering with Telstra Wholesale to create new variations on typical products to meet the requirements of customers who want simple, easy to understand mobile plans.

“We introduced 6 and 12 month pre-paid plans with a lump sum of data to use over the duration. We made it for families, but it has a much wider appeal. The six-month plan has been very popular among older customers for example because it’s a simple product: they buy it and they don’t have to do anything else with it for six months.”

James’ team has built on the popularity of the plans by weaving in rewards and offers shoppers can redeem in-store or online.

“We tightened up our integration with our Everyday Rewards, enabling us to roll out personalised offers and a 10 per cent discount on a shop every month for eligible customers. It has been a huge success, helping us create a stronger relationship with individual customers and tie together our mobile and core grocery business together.”

Meet Olive - she has the answers

Woolworths’ investment in its app has created a frictionless experience for customers.

“As it stands today, more than 90 per cent of our customers access the app every month. They can solve about 90 per cent of all the typical questions or requests related to pre-paid through the app,” James explains.

Customers can do everything from change their recharge plan and update payment details to checking data consumption on the app, which is highly rated on both iOS and Android.

One of the reasons for its success is the presence of Olive, Woolworth’s chatbot. Olive was introduced to customers in 2019 and provides customers with routine answers and information immediately. Over time, the Olive chatbot self-learns how to respond, enabling Woolworths to serve a greater range of information in the application.

Creative collaboration to pick up the pace

Woolworths Mobile’s new strategy has seen them deliver around 40 new product variations. James says their partnership with Telstra Wholesale, dating back to 2015, has evolved over the last 12 months to support this pace of change.

“The past year of working with the Telstra Wholesale team has been an absolute joy. It shows if you and your partners are aligned on your strategy, understand each other’s motives, and constructively engage to solve problems, you can achieve so much more.”

“We trust Telstra Wholesale to be proactive on product constructs and price points that are relevant to customers while we can focus on our core competencies of customer engagement, marketing and distribution. Then we come together and ideate to develop the strongest propositions for our customers.”

Stellar experiences drive stellar results

Over the past year, Woolworths Mobile experienced its highest customer net growth since the business went live five years ago. “We have long tenure among existing customers and NPS scores that I believe will be among the highest, if not the highest, in the sector. We rate very highly for value for money, which is what Woolworths’ brand is all about. It proves to me that our mobile strategy is delivering for our customers."


John Fearn
The Author John Fearn

John is a writer and tech addict with over 15 years’ experience of working for leading technology companies in both Australia and the UK.

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