Since the day I formally started my own company, one of the idea that I was toying around was running loyalty program on mobile phones. I am not a shopping freak, but still do manage to carry atleast 4 different cards in my wallet. Even though I hardly use them, the fear of actually being in one of these shop without the card dithers me from dropping it. On the other hand a mobile phone is something I always carry and use it constantly. So why can't my loyalty card turn into my mobile phone?
A lot of company like mCheck and others are actually trying to solve the bigger problem. That is to get rid of your credit/debit card or your wallet itself completely. Indian government does allow service providers to deduct money over mobile phone so we don't have any regulatory issue here. And the technology used by all the providers is quite secure so that is not the problem either. Moreover with 500 million subscribers in this country, you can't even deny that the market is not there. So why do you think companies like mCheck have not been able to make an impact in this market?
I believe mobile payment in India is a classic case study where an idea is beaten down not by market need, but the cultural underling of the market. We've had the dot com revolution for a decade now, But still the number of people who transact online is abysmally low. The number is increasing no doubt, but still it's a fraction of overall market. Mobile payment may be downright easy and the most convenient way to do it, but you just can't change the way people transact.
This market does not want convenience. If you offer that as a service, it will not take it. People don't mind carrying their wallet. So don't try to replace it. Basically don't expect the market to learn a new way of payment. And by that I don't mean don't provide mobile payment at all.
Well, coming back to loyalty on mobile phone, we recently launched mLoyalty for Games n Gadgets. GnG is a premier shop focussed exclusively on Games and accessories. You can become a member of GnG either by filling up a simple signup page on http://gng.ezeecoupons.com or by just sending a simple sms ADDME GNG to 9243000111. That's right, the amazing thing about this program is that you access it over your mobile phone. You can register, find out about your points, sms your complaints/queries over SMS.
You don't get a physical card as part of this membership, but instead you just use your mobile phone which you anyway carry. You shop and at the checkout, mentions your mobile number, and the points are automatically added to your account. You can send sms MYPOINTS GNG to 9243000111 and get to know the number of points you have. The shop is going to launch attractive contests which you can participate on your mobile phone itself. If you win the prize, you will the gift on your mobile phone as a SMS, which you bring to the shop, show the SMS and walk away with your prize.
For a change it is actually going to be fun to be a part of such a loyalty program. So go ahead, register yourself and enjoy the gen X ride.