This subject came up in conversation yesterday so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the subject having been one of the ones who tried and failed.
1. Does the retailer care?
Most stamp card offerings are a nice to have, certainly not core to the business. And retailers offering such things rarely look at the data behind it no matter how much you try and dress it up. I can create graphs of the date/time when a customer comes in and buys a coffee. Chances are the retailer is already small and agile enough to figure that out for themselves.
2. Google Killed It.
Google acquired PunchD the little stamp card startup for a reported $10M and then promptly killed it. The rumours that it would integrate in to Google Wallet never transpired and PunchD mumbled along as a stand alone app and then it was culled. When Google do this it’s normally sending out a message, no one is really interested.
3. If You Can’t Integrate With POS…..
The single showstopper for the retailer. If you can’t integrate with the POS then there’s no real point. And it’s a challenge that most large scale POS companies will not entertain. Look at the likes of Cafe Nero, just a simple piece of cardboard that gets used and abused, sites have been created to show you have to fudge the system and get free coffee…. Small POS companies might open their API for you to integrate your system. The retailer still may not care that much as explain in #4.
4. “Does it add much time?”
If you add time to how long it takes the staff to process a customer then it’s a no go. Scanning, over to the “cloud” and all that jazz. The retailer rarely cares except one thing, money in the till and the next customer. And fair play to them….
5. Passbook is a bucket of slop
Passbook is pointless, there’s no two ways about it. For one simple reason, it doesn’t support 1D barcodes. Assume that the majority of LED scanners at POS are 1D scanners as they are much cheaper than 2D ones. Passbook fails on the spot. So you, dear startup, can dress it up as much as you want. It already doesn’t work in their eyes.
I sound defeatist? No, it’s a case of realism over idealism. Look at the larger retailers like Nero and Waterstones and take a step back and ask yourself, why? Why? Because it’s easier than your proposed system…..