This morning I was cleaning out my purse and had a great idea for a new mobile app. I’m sure it’s already been done, but here goes.
The dominant retailer tactic these days is loyalty cards. Things are cheaper if you have one, and usually they don’t cost anything, so it’s silly not to sign up. Problem is, you never have it with you when you go back to that store. So they have to look it up by your phone number, which more often than not isn’t in the database, etc … so ultimately, checking out takes twice as long just so you can save a couple bucks.
Wouldn’t it be cool if I could take a picture of all my loyalty cards with my phone, store them in an image database, and use that instead of the actual card when I go to check out? The main screen would be a list of retailers, with the option to sort by most recently used or A-Z. Then at checkout, I would just retrieve the image of the card, and scan it through the cashier’s barcode reader (assuming this is actually possible). [update: yes, it is.]
The business case is pretty obvious – offer customers an incentive to register the app (additional coupons, etc.) and sell contact information to retailers. This would keep the UI ad-free and uncluttered — very important, since saving time at checkout is the whole point.
So far, so good.
Update: I checked around, and of course it exists! Several, in fact.
Billed as “The #1 Android and iPhone Mobile Loyalty Card Application”.
Lots of recent news coverage. In addition to storing all the consumer’s card data, merchants can offer coupons directly to registered consumers.
Verizon just invested 400K in this one.