The mobile payments landscape has been a confusing one for retailers and leisure companies alike. Myriad start-ups and global giants have asked business leaders to put their faith in these newcomers’ hands before embarking on the mobile payments journey.
These mobile payment companies have also dished out over-zealous press releases making extravagant claims that have incorporated questionable statistics massaged for their own purposes. Barring the likes of the Starbucks’ mobile payments app in the US, there have been few genuine success stories to shout about and provide the wider market confidence to invest.
Needless to say, many companies have foregone taking the dicey mobile payments trip and given the new technology a wide berth. But things are changing fast. Yes, many mobile solutions have come and gone but there is now acceptance that mobile payments can no longer be ignored. This is a result of Apple Pay moving things along tremendously quickly and the fact that 80/90% of smart-phone usage is not call related anymore. Noticeably, technology is playing an increasing role in dining out with mobile devices becoming a natural extension to the dining experience.
The market place is also starting to mature. In addition to the 11% who are embracing mobile payments now, an additional 43% of diners are looking for this feature to be available at more establishments. As a mobile payments provider, MyCheck is now well established with respectable partners and investors as well as having marquee clients including restaurant chain Busaba Eathai.
To reach this position, MyCheck changed its strategy 18 months ago whereby we’re deeply focused on our white-label solution with a more narrowed approach to the MyCheck brand app. And, vitally, we are not just a mobile payment solution because fundamental to our offering is the loyalty component. The reality is – payment solutions can easily be turned on or off (from different providers), it’s the loyalty bit that creates tangible value and key to MyCheck’s mobile-centric services.
It enables customers to be given offers tailored to their specific needs and tastes, and for hospitality operators to motivate and incentivise these individuals from the data gathering that we provide, which helps to detail people’s buying and consumption habits. Through loyalty schemes, restaurants are able to drive traffic with tactical promotions and innovate through stretch-spend offerings and retention programmes.
This can only work with a simple solution incorporating a great user experience with an interface that is easy to use and enables seamless redemptions and payments. And for merchants it has to be safe and secure. It must be painless to adopt for both parties.
This combination of both mobile payments and digital loyalty is not unique in the industry but MyCheck has an advantage in being connected to both the payment gateways and acquiring banks – with approval as a PSP (Payment Service Provider) and having PCI compliance.
Beyond these acronyms this means we are recognised as having an infrastructure that enables us to securely hold payment card details and the data related to transactions. This is very rich and it powers our loyalty proposition. Engagement is maintained seamlessly, thus implementing an efficient mobile strategy.
But it only provides real benefits if restaurants fully buy-into utilising the data and the insight that it can bring. They have to reach the conclusion that they want to embrace it. Once they do then they will receive an immense amount of data that will enable them to up-sell, and to upgrade the customer experience through more personalised engagement.
Adoption is not a decision to be made and to then leave the solution alone. There has to be ongoing thought into how best to gratify the customer and understand how to make productive investments that deliver appealing incentives to them.
Only then will the incremental sales come through and repeat visits increase. Certainly at Busaba Eathai their mobile strategy has had a major impact on its customer base, with 40% of MyCheck app users repeat visitors contributing to 70% of the company’s daily app transactions.
With visibility of customer transactions, preferences, and return rates, Busaba was able to trial campaigns and track results intelligently in order to nurture loyal behaviour. The app now has 75,000 customers who use it to pay regularly and rewards continue to drive repeat users, with return visits from app users increasing by 7% per month.
The mobile payments journey beckons for other such businesses that recognise the great value that can be generated from the rich data that mobile-based transactions are able to provide.
Gil Hazan, managing director for Europe, MyCheck