Headquarters: Two locations in Japan, Tokyo and Osaka
Category: Multinational Corp.
Industry: Financial Institution
How does your company fit into the card-linking or online-to-offline commerce ecosystems?
We work as a card issuer and a merchant acquirer in Japan and providecard-linked offers (CLO) through a service called “Kokoiko!” for online-to-offline (O2O) commerce to meet needs from members and merchants.The service flow includes the concept of ease-of-use for members as follows. First, you register your payment card online with the store where you want to go in advance on our website. Second, you pay with your card without a coupon. Third, you receive rewards such as points or cashback. Very simple. Also, we believe that this service will provide great advantages for members who hesitate to use coupons in public and merchants who can eliminate the work of training staff due to the lack of a coupon.
Who are you trying to reach?
We limit this service to SMCC members and SMCC merchantsto focus on certainty and real-time in matching member’s registration with card sales data. However, we are considering developing a scheme to be able to target non-SMCC merchants to expand the service to meet customers’ needs and also make “Kokoiko!” available to non-SMCC members to be able to send more customers to SMCC merchants.
How will your company approach online-to-offline commerce that is new or different?
（１）Push notification to smartphone app to notify the member when a merchant providing an offer is located within walking distance from the member’s location, based on GPS information, in order to create opportunity for member to stop by the store spontaneously.
（２）More beneficial ”Special Offers” that are provided only to members who meet the specific criteria that matches the merchant’s sales goals so that the merchant gets the most return on investment for their limited promotion budget.
（３）Email notification about a pending expiration for the offer after registration is made and an email reminder about the application of the offer after using the card at merchant, aiming to increase card usage and customer retention.
What are some insights or challenges in implementing of your solution?
We received many positive responses from members such as “The service is easy to use.” or “It is nice that there is no need to bring coupon.” through member questionnaires. Therefore, we think that CLO features of “easy to use” and “no coupon required” are creating a virtuous cycle. On the other hand, there are also feedback such as “It is too much trouble to register.” or “There is no store that I want to use”, so we recognize that improvement of the user interface (UI) and expansion of merchants are important issues. We also received positive responses from merchants as well, saying “It is effective for acquiring new customers.” or “We can visualize the marketing outcome since the success of the program is substantiated with sales numbers”, however, some say it does not have enough of an effect to send customers to the store. We think that increasing recognition and awareness of this service is an urgent task.
What are some new projects for this year?
We have two goals this year. The first goal is “quantity”, such as expansion of participating merchants to “Kokoiko!” and increasing usage among SMCC members. The second goal is “quality,” such as improving the matching precision between customer needs and the offer, and enhancement of UI and UX. We will strengthen each promotion and upgrade features aimed these two goals. Also, we are targeting a new challenge such as opening this service to other issuers.
Message for CardLinx members
Currently, CLO service in Japan is limited to the customer base for each card company. We need a certain size to breakthrough for this service to penetrate customer and merchant awareness on a fuller scale.
However, it will be difficult to make that happen by single company. We think it requires a movement involving other businesses to some extent. We would like to achieve this result by identifying areas and spaces to compete or collaborate, , establishing certain rules and models, and sharing the use of APIs through active discussion regarding collaboration among these companies. We believe that we should aim to create something that all companies can use and compete on service with each other.
Also, it will be critical to utilize cross-industry alliances, cooperate with foreign companies and use data to satisfy members’ needs to have more and wider variety of rewards. We expect to “innovate together” with other CardLinx members to create a productive CLO environment in Japan. So please, participate actively and let’s share information.