Weve on Monday revealed it has begun trialling its mobile loyalty card with U.K. sandwich shop chain Eat.
The service is comprised of an app called Pouch that people can use to store loyalty cards from multiple retailers. It is underpinned by the Weve Acceptance Network, an open platform that gives businesses the option to either put their loyalty card on Pouch or launch a loyalty app of their own.
It is also compatible with iBeacon. Developed by Apple, it is a small transmitter that uses Bluetooth Smart connectivity to send a push notification to any smartphone that passes within close proximity to it. Retailers can use them in their stores to send special offers to prospective customers who have opted in to receive them.
"Pouch is a safe place to store, organise and use coupons and loyalty cards from lots of different retailers," explained Weve product director Sean O'Connell, at a press briefing in London.
Eat is using Pouch in tandem with iBeacon in a small-scale trial involving 100 people. It plans to extend the trial to 1,000 users and then to 10,000 in the second quarter. Although iBeacon was developed by Apple, the protocols also work on Android, which is what Weve and Eat are using for the trial.
Today, Eat uses its Website and social media to inform customers about new additions to its menu, particularly hot food, which varies on a daily basis. Like many food shops it operates a card-based loyalty programme that encourages customers to collect stamps in return for a free drink.
"Stamp cards have no memory," said O'Connell. Once a customer has collected their dozen stamps and redeemed the offer, the card is discarded.
"When I buy my 500th coffee I want balloons to fall from the ceiling and a...big muffin," he said.
Pouch and iBeacon represent "another opportunity to interact with our customers," noted Holly Lee, Eat's group marketing manager.
She explained that a lot of consumers start to think about where they might go for lunch while they are still in their office, which highlights the importance of reaching out to them before they have even set foot in