Two years after BP's pioneering use of mobile vouchers for their free coffee promotion at Wild Bean Cafe, the latest development from digital voucher specialist i-movo provides a number of improvements in consumer and retailer experience. I-movo has developed and patented a method of using credit card payment systems to redeem vouchers displayed as text messages on mobile phones.
Following BP's campaign in November 2006, the system has been proven and used by brands including Financial Times, Lucozade, Nike, Associated Newspapers and News International. Since then i-movo has been building an extensive network of more than 30,000 retailers able to accept its vouchers. Included within this is the 20,000-strong PayPoint network, whose yellow and blue chevron logo is a familiar sight in convenience stores and independent retailers all over the UK.
Despite this, concerns have remained about processing the vouchers as the voucher number needed to be manually keyed into the credit card terminal. Agencies and their clients also want a better representation of the clients brand than can be achieved using text messages.
I-movo has now teamed up with Wapple to create barcoded vouchers that are displayed on mobile phones together with full colour brand imagery. The barcodes can be scanned at any PayPoint retailer, all of whom have a hand-held scanner integrated into the PayPoint terminal. Now the retailer simply needs to scan the voucher and accept the transaction with a single keystroke.
"It's quite a simple strategy — over the last three years, we've led the market in secure digital vouchers, email, text messaging and contactless and magnetic stripe cards," David Tymm, CEO at i-movo, explained. "The marketing possibilities are limited when you're only using text messages, with no color or graphics, and when voucher numbers need to be captured at the point of sale manually and key entered.
"The advantage of our platform is that we can include images and graphics to deliver a richer brand experience for consumers," he said. "Secondly, we can include a barcode that represents our voucher to make it easier for retailers to capture it."