Mobile gift company Mocapay has just announced the securing of $3 million in funding from a group of investors – which says good things about the future of mobile loyalty schemes. But what does Mocapay do, exactly?
What does Mocapay do?
Mobile seems to be a natural home for merchant loyalty and gift schemes. Here’s how it works:
You’ve got a loyalty card for a retailer. When you buy something, you present your card at the point of purchase and get loyalty points (or gift points, or whatever the retailer calls them). The problem is that you don’t always have your loyalty with you . You do always have your phone, though. So the Mocapay idea works by creating a mobile wallet that you register your gift card with. Instead of using the gift card to store points, you store the points on your phone. This also allows Mocapay to give you more information about your loyalty points then a card would. For example, you can check the balance of your gift points “account, you can view the transaction history, and you can search locations for retailers you have a loyalty scheme with. There’s also a gift function that allows you to pass points on to friends or family members.
At the moment, Mocapay only has three retailers signed on, but we can presume that the point of this cash injection is to help them sign more merchants to the programme.
The system isn’t limited to plastic card based schemes. Mocapay recently set up a marketing and loyalty campaign with frozen yoghurt company Maiberry, based around SMS.
The two main investors were Spartan Mobile, which concentrates on mobile companies, and Lacuna.
What we think?
I’ve always felt that loyalty schemes have a very practical implementation on mobile devices. Of course, with a scheme like this, the more merchants that are signed on the better. What this really makes think of is consumer economics – the habit of people to set up systems with whatever they have to hand. There were stories recently about how African phone owners have created systems of currency based around phone credit. Once mobile operators allowed users to send credit to other phones, that credit became used as a currency. The “gift” function of Mocapay can enable the same kind of behaviour, where people can trade the goodwill of retailers as a kind of currency. Just a thought.