While some mobile app developers focus efforts on the more popular iOS and Android platforms, the maker of one of Australia’s top coffee loyalty apps said Windows and BlackBerry customers are its most active users.
The eCoffeeCard app is available for Apple, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone. It has been downloaded 200,000 times and is used by 1500 cafés. A new version is being developed for the upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS, and will be available on 27 February.
Greg Taylor, director of eCoffeeCard, told Computerworld Australia that while the app is downloaded most from the Apple app store, Windows and BlackBerry customers “typically have a higher coffee count per week” than iPhone and Android customers.
Taylor said 70 per cent of eCoffeeCard users have devices running iOS and 20 per cent have Android smartphones, while the remaining 10 per cent is split evenly between BlackBerry and Windows Phone.
However, BlackBerry and Windows Phone customers use the app nearly 30 per cent more than Apple users, and about 20 per cent more than Android users, Taylor said. The eCoffeeCard director said BlackBerry and Windows Phone users tend to be corporate users with a higher disposable income, and therefore can spend more money on coffee.
Globally, Android continues to dominate among smartphone operating systems, representing 72.4 per cent of devices sold in the third quarter this year, according to recent Gartner research. Apple iOS represented 13.9 per cent of devices sold, while BlackBerry had 5.3 per cent. Windows Phone represented 2.4 per cent.
“Windows Phone is going to be in our view an emerging product ... and the demand’s there to support it,” Taylor said. “And BlackBerry’s got a huge percentage of the corporate market. Obviously, [BlackBerry’s] overall numbers have declined, but the total share of the market in the [city] CBDs is still very, very high.”
“We had 20 or 30 requests a day for a Windows version” before the company launched the Microsoft-compatible app in October last year, Taylor said. Growth of that platform has been doubling every month, he said.
The BlackBerry flavour is “declining at the moment,” but Taylor said he believes that will turn around with the launch of BlackBerry 10.
The eCoffeeCard app launched about 18 months ago and is used by cafés across Australia, mostly in city CBDs. The app is also supported in some cafés in Auckland, Hong Kong and the UK, Taylor said.
When a café signs up for the program online, it receives a QR code that customers can scan to earn loyalty points. At first, the app used PIN codes, but after a month moved to QR codes because they make the user experience “simple and fast,” Taylor said.
The app could one day support near field communication (NFC) technology used for contactless transactions, Taylor said. While payment companies PayPal and mHITS have recently voiced doubts, Taylor said he sees NFC as “a pretty logical next step” given the technology’s growing market penetration.
Besides the core loyalty feature, users can add prepaid value to eCoffeeCard for micropayments to cafés. The company is also working with one of the top two Australian telcos on a way to charge coffees directly to a user’s phone bill, Taylor said. It has plans to trial that service in March, he said.
Eat Media, the parent of eCoffeeCard, makes most of its money from ads in the app targeted to each user based on demographic information, Taylor said. Cafés can optionally buy from eCoffeeCard signs printed with QR codes for $25.
Not every customer who tries eCoffeeCard continues using it, Taylor said. He estimated that on average about 20 per cent will use the app every day, but it depends on how the café promotes the service. Customers on average use the app for 2.8 cafés, he said.
The cafés signing up for the service are sticking, Taylor said. “Not only are they keeping it, but they are becoming more engaged.” For example, they are using information they receive from the app like customer birthdays to improve relationships with customers, he said.
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