This new service, Reamaze, provides small businesses with a social-media based CRM solution. Great idea, and another example of leveling the playing field between small businesses and their huge enterprise competitors. Social media can be very time-consuming for smaller businesses, but done right is a very cost-effective channel for customer service.
LA Times article on” gameification,” the trend to add elements of gameplay to applications.
Carl’s Jr. has just released their own check-in program for their restaurants. Rather than partner with one of the big location-based providers, they decided to roll their own. Eschewing Gowalla, Foursquare, and Facebook Places, they opted to roll out a solution which involved installing special point-of-sales software.
The benefits? For one, they own the customer relationship (and whatever data they collect). Also, they were concerned about fraud protection and efficient administration of the program. Since they are offering free menu items and other merchandise, this makes sense, and no doubt a big part of any successful deployment of such a program is tailoring the tools so that harried fast-food employees can do what they need to do, even during lunch rush. Not like you can run off to log in to the Internet to see if someone wins fries when there’s a big line of hungry people in front of you.
The mobile app part of the program, Happy Star Rewards, is available on iPhone and Android. Too bad my local Carl’s just went belly-up, I would have owned Sherman Oaks.
Prominent in the LA Times article above, SCVNGR is also profiled at GigaOM.
Two articles about how consumers are using new tools to find bargains and improve their shopping experiences:
And NFC (Near-Field Communication) is just around the corner, with upcoming Android handset support, and rumors that the next iPhone will also include it. Mercatur Advisory Group thinks these services will provide carriers with more leverage, though the market won’t reach meaningful mass until 2012. NFC is similar to the keychains you tap on the gas pump to pay, this technology is making its way into new phone handsets, and provides carriers with a possible new source of income as they process payments made this way.
USA Today article about Ebay’s CEO, and his focus on mobile. Ebay has recently made quite a few strategic acquisitions in the mobile arena, including purchase of Red Laser and their recent takeover of Milo.com. They are moving fast to integrate these companies, too.