The loyalty device race takes to public transport


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In our story “The Device Race,” we examine various loyalty program identifiers, from traditional mag-stripe cards to mobile apps to devices employing near-field communications technology. Now comes an interesting twist on the subject.

Members of the loyalty program operated by Bert’s (a very French-sounding name for a quick service restaurant chain in France) have been able to use a traditional program card as well as a more technological method–smartphone QR codes–when making purchases. Bert’s is now accepting a third “device” for program members.

Commuters in Paris have been able to access public transportation with a smartcard–the Passe Navigo–since 2001. And now they can access their Club Bert‘s loyalty program through Navigo, as well. What’s more, they can create and activate a new Club Bert‘s account online using their Navigo card number. An additional convenience for program members and potential who very likely have this pre-existing “loyalty device” already in their wallets.

So, a whole new meaning to food “to go.”

This retail use of the Navigo card isn’t the first such extension of a transport smart card out of the subways and into the rest of everyday life. The Octopus smartcard that has been used to pay fares in Hong Kong since 1997 has been in other general use at groceries, convenience stores, parking lots and, yes, restaurants and other venues. As we reported back when, “7-Eleven was the first local retailer to accept payments with the electronic purse application on Octopus cards in October 2000.” Again, convenience is at play. As Cardline wrote in 2007, “Octopus Knowledge is encouraging retailers to accept the card for payments. . . . The card appears likely to succeed as a general-spend vehicle because commuters use it daily and feel comfortable with it.”

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bill Brohaugh
As managing editor, Bill Brohaugh is responsible for the day-to-day management and editorial for the COLLOQUY magazine and, the most comprehensive loyalty marketing web site in the world. In addition to writing many of the feature articles, Bill develops the editorial calendar, hires and manages outside writers and researchers and oversees print and online production. He also contributes to COLLOQUY's weekly email Market Alert and the COLLOQUYTalk series of white papers.


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