One good thing about making purchases in Korea is that almost every shop has some type of point or “mileage” system. However, this can begin to become quite a hassle once your wallet is so stuffed with cards you cannot fit anything else inside it. While shared point services such as Happy Point and OK Cashbag are starting to become more common in certain types of shops, there are still limits on the way points can be used.
Yoyo Coin is a new service from startup Macro Studio which combines a shared point system with information on various venues such as restaurants, coffee shops and clothing stores. The service also allows for friends to share points with one another. CEO Hyun-jin Jang explained how the company came to create the service.
“Liking good restaurants, we searched through portal sites only to find that there was so much information that we couldn’t figure out where the best restaurants really were. There were ‘fake’ reviews simply there for PR purposes and we couldn’t read every single one as it would take far too much time. We thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if someone could just tell me if a restaurant is good or not?” and that a really good restaurant is one which gets a lot of customers. Of course many people check in at places they go often via Foursquare but since checking in itself doesn’t have a lot of meaning, usage has gradually decreased.”
Yoyo Coin is a store membership service that was developed from the idea of easily leaving a record of one’s visit. Once a customers gains points, it also lets the user know the number of times they have visited the store through the app. In the video below, which is in Korean, you can view some of the places that service will be able to be used.
Macro Studio believes that being able to see the actual number of visits a store has received makes information about the service or products more reliable. Of course, card holders gain benefits from the points they collect and can be exchanged for discounts or even cash. Users can use Yoyo Coin points at the shop they earned them at, or any other shop which uses the Yoyo Coin system. Stores also gain an advantage as the services acts to increase the number of regular customers and encourages new ones to keep coming back.
Although Macro Studio was founded in August, 2011, the team had been working on various projects together since July 2010. Jang believes that there are still problems for shop-owners in the “offline” world and the company’s goal is to provide solutions for these.
“Focusing on venues such as restaurants or more aesthetic services, we believe that through the mobility and connectivity of smartphones, we can solve problems that exist for these markets.”
Macro Studio is currently in the process of recruiting stores and plans to initially launch Yoyo Coin in localized stores that customers will find the most useful. The company plans to launch the service along with the beginning of the second university semester in September. While the app will only be available on iOS at first, Jang says that an Android app will also be coming.
“At first we’ll focus on service in Korea but we will prepare for it to be used overseas in the future.”
Macro Studio has already targeted overseas markets with a travel service for Japanese tourists visiting Korea named Yoyo Plane. The company also plans to extend the service to China.