Cardmobili launches its loyalty card service in the U.S. today, diving in head first to an increasingly competitive market. The company, which has an iPhone app, is based in Europe and is already off to a good start. One reason for that success is Cardmobili’s combining of cloud computing and a mobile presence, taking full advantage of two red-hot areas for startups right now.
The service itself is mostly what you’d expect; an iPhone app that carries digital versions of your loyalty cards from grocery stores, book stores, airlines and even your motorcycle club. You can create a loyalty card if Cardmobili doesn’t already have the company you need, with tools to access and manage your specific loyalty accounts (see how much money you’ve saved over time, or how many points you have racked up).
Now that Cardmobili is coming to the states, it’s looking to use some of its European-learned lessons towards its expansion plans. Jeff Seabloom, Senior Vice President of U.S. Operations for Cardmobili, gave me a run-down of some of those lessons learned. “The consumer wants their information deivered immediately,” Seabloom explained. “What we’re doing with Cardmobili is empowering the consumer around this.”
The European market, which has had more time and practical causes for utilizing a mobile card loyalty program, has been a great petri dish for Cardmobili, enabling the company to quickly expand towards its marketing services. Cardmobili also presents itself as a self-managed tool that businesses can use in order to access consumers at their point of money-making decisions.
Cardmobili relies on consumer demand to encourage businesses to participate in its program. But looking at the coupon delivery mechanisms, location-based alerts and other aspects of consumer interaction, it’s clear that Cardmobili is seeking heavily integrated ways of connecting brands and buyers. This growth strategy of collecting data on consumer demand and using it to drive merchant participation sounds a bit like Yelp, but it’s what Cardmobili calls the “magic sauce” to navigating the social media and commerce landscape.
Looking at the competitive nature of this type of app, Cardmobili still has quite an uphill battle. Other location-aware services, such as Loopt, are beginning to incorporate loyalty programs into existing mobile apps. And the number of businesses that are layering their loyalty programs into their own mobile apps is growing as well.
Nevertheless, Cardmobili’s U.S. launch looks to leverage its experience in joining brands and consumers based on time and location, choosing to expand in a new market, versus an Asian region that’s already years ahead of the U.S. Cardmobili’s apps are available on the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, BlackBerry, Android, as well as non-smart phones.