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How We’ve Developed Collect to What it is Today

As you can imagine in our product demonstrations to customers, we often get asked the question “why does Collect do it that way?” Here's why...

Most of the answers to this question can be traced back to product “pivots” that we made based on customer feedback or technology. This has been a long product development journey. So Collect looks like what it does now, not because we just came up with it, but because the market dictated it.

The Collect journey started in late 2012 with a product called rewardjunkie In short rewardjunkie was a mobile phone App for customer loyalty. A consumer would sign up for rewardjunkie, register their payment cards (EFT-POS, debit, credit) and then earn points based on the amount of dollars they spent on their cards at rewardjunkie venues they chose to follow. They would then be able to see in the rewardjunkie App how many points they had at different venues and what rewards they could redeem there. But we kept getting asked these questions:

How do you get rewarded for spending cash?
You couldn’t, which is the big downside of using only payment cards as the unique identifier. That wasn’t that big a problem in NZ where card payments equate to around 80% of transactions, but it was a big problem in other countries.

How do I get to see what products customers are buying?
You can’t with integration through a payment switch, you can only see that data through integration with the point-of-sale software.

If a consumer uses the rewardjunkie App, won’t they see all my competitors in there as well?
Yes, absolutely. That’s the point of a universal App, to generate loyalty to the App company.

So we created Collect, another mobile App which integrated with Point-of-Sale software. This product quickly grew to be larger than rewardjunkie was. People said to us ‘this new Collect thing is great but’:

I have an online store as well, so how do I see when customers are buying in-store and online?
This wasn’t possible, so we integrated with the world’s leading e-commerce software providers. Now Collect is genuinely omnichannel loyalty and marketing.

How do I market to my customers outside of the mobile App as well (i.e. push notifications)?
You couldn’t, so we integrated with the world’s largest email marketing platforms. And due to demand, we’re now building our own retail and hospitality specific email marketing platform with built-in segmentation.

Then we realized it was really difficult to get people to download the Collect mobile App and even harder to get them to engage through it (e.g. read the content regularly). So we shut the App down and instead use email as the comms channel. Now people ask:

Why don’t you have a Collect mobile App anymore?
The most commonly used App on a phone is email, so we decided communicated through email was not only better for users on their phone, but for the desktop as well. Instead of building our own App we decided to deeply integrate with the most prodigious App out there in our space, Apple Wallet, which we estimate is on 600m iPhones.

As we were we building Collect we took on A LOT of customer feedback and we keep building more features and functionality. Our product became easily the most sophisticated marketing tool for small to medium sized retailers and hospitality operators. And along the way, the most complex. So we decided to run a simplification program and now we get this question:

Why is Collect multiple products instead of just one?
Collect is now a collection of really simple products that allow a small business to start easily and see the benefits before deciding they need to use other more sophisticated marketing tools, or deciding the one simple tool they’ve got is all they need. This has made Collect simpler and more affordable. And this structure allows us to easily add other products to the mix as the market demands.

And one other fundamental question that always gets asked and we feel strongly about, and also really differentiates us:

Why doesn’t Collect have an iPad on the counter that customers can just check-in through to earn points and see their rewards available?
We believe the interaction between the customers and staff is sacrosanct. Therefore, we’ve made it easy for staff to check and redeem rewards through our deep integration with Point-of-Sale, rather than try and bypass the interaction altogether.

Retailers don’t have room on their counter for ANOTHER piece of hardware, nor do they want to have to manage it when it breaks down.

This hardware is not usually connected to the Point-of-Sale, meaning the customers’ need to enter themselves and what they’ve just purchased. Now, I’m an honest guy, but this looks like a big fraud opportunity for people who aren’t so honest…

But we are looking for ways to smooth and speed up that interaction at the counter even further through what we’re doing with Apple Wallet and work we’re doing with our integration partners on customer-facing Point-of-Sale screens. Keep a lookout for more developments or contact your Collect Customers Success rep for more details.

So, if you’re comparing Collect with other products in the market I can guarantee there’s at least two differences between us and them in the list of questions above. And now you know why Collect does it that way.