If you’re anything like me, my wallet is full of membership and point cards for coffee shops and restaurants. Some that I visit regularly and some not so regularly. Many people will often ask friends or co-workers to stamp their cards if they are getting something at the same shop they usually go to.
Wepass is a new service from the Korean startup 9Flava which allows users to share point cards via an app on their smartphone. Launched in March, anyone can download the service’s free app and sign up for cards with branches of brands which support the Wepass cards. Depending on each shop’s preference, each card can be shared by approximately 2-6 people. All friends can get points on their card by scanning a QR code while paying for their purchases. Users can invite other users through the app to form a group who will share a card. In web 2.0 style, the group can communicate with each other through comments and members can even be kicked out if the group feels someone isn’t pulling their weight.
9Flava was founded in October 2011 and while it originally planned a wider network which matched users with similar interests, the company decided to narrow its focus.
Marketing manager Jason Park says that from a consumer’s point of view, friends can team together to gain better benefits of point cards faster and from the point of view of a brand which uses shared point cards, it provides marketing, making regular customers bring their friends to produce more regular customers. Park says that owners of shops do not generally show interest in point card apps which simply replace a standard card as even small fees are not well accepted. To encourage store owners, Wepass offers group CRM and other effective ways to manage customers and operate their business.
“To more accurately approach interests among friends, we thought of a point card and chose to develop the card together with the features of social networking into what you see today.”
Wepass is currently only available in limited locations while it tests its systems, but the service is gearing up for a second stage launch that will provide users with more locations and more brands to create and share cards at. Park says that although they are the only service of their kind in Korea at the moment, the company is aware that similar apps may appear.
Since the service we provide has low barriers, we think that soon “copycats” are likely to appear but we are confident that we can offer the best type of service. In particular, unlike other startups, our employees are not only skilled in developing but we also have staff who are experienced in offline marketing.
Despite being currently focused on the domestic market, 9Flava eventually plans to take Wepass global.
“Point cards, friends, social networks, smartphones and customer management is not local to Korea and in fact, discounts, coupons, and points are things that are used even more in places like the US or UK.”