Exciting articles several times a month
28 June 2017
Fintech is a highly diversified sector of economy featuring a great number of industries and technologies aimed at making the life of people more convenient and ultimately increase financial inclusiveness across the globe. Technologies created to help customers save their money, accrue bonuses and points for being loyal to some brands or shops had been at place long before we ever heard about fintech. Today we have a great opportunity to talk to Björn Goß, CEO and Founder of Stocard, a competitor to Apple’s Passbook based headquartered in Germany, that offers mobile wallets for storing loyalty cards.
Hello, Björn. Could you, please, briefly introduce your company? What is your Stocard App all about?
Stocard is the leading Mobile Loyalty Wallet with more than 15 million users. Users can add all their loyalty cards to the free Stocard app within seconds. At the checkout they then collect all their loyalty points at any store without having to carry around all of the plastic cards.
In addition, the app informs them about the latest news and offers from their favourite retailers and keeps users up to date about their current points balances for each of their cards. To save even more money, users can also register for new loyalty cards directly through the app with just one click. The new loyalty card is then available in the app in real-time.
What hardware or software businesses and merchants need to be able to use your solution?
Since Stocard ‘mirrors’ the information that is contained in the barcode or magnetic stripe of the plastic loyalty cards, Stocard works with the systems retailers already have in place. These systems can read the information the same way they read plastic loyalty cards.
Rarely, some shops still have very old barcode readers in place that are not able to read smartphone displays. Nowadays this is rather uncommon, but if this occurs, the customer id can easily be typed in by the cashier.
For some of our partners, we have also implemented an integration into their CRM systems so that they are able to send personalised and relevant offers to their most loyal customers.
How individual customers can join your service?
The Stocard app is – and always will be – free. There’s also no registration required in the system. After downloading the app from the App or Play Store, you can scan all the plastic loyalty cards to save them in Stocard right away.
We’ve also put particular emphasis to make the process of adding cards as quick and easy as possible; a few seconds after downloading the app you will have all your plastic cards digitised in Stocard.
Are there any service fees for business and individual clients?
While the app is free for users, retailers pay a small fee for using Stocard as a communication channel. Our retail partners pay for example for informing users about their latest offers and best deals or for winning new customers to join their loyalty program through Stocard’s loyalty card signup.
How do you ensure security for you customers?
Stocard’s systems comply with highest security standards. However, since you can use Stocard without signing up, Stocard works without even saving any personal data.
Your key market is, obviously, Germany. What challenges do you face there?
We followed an international vision from day 1 and continue to think on a global scale. Today, we run offices in Australia, Italy and the Netherlands where we closely work with our retail partners to offer possible customer experience.
One or two years ago many retailers were still trying to understand what digitization and mobile means for them and their customers and what strategy would be successful. This sometimes meant lengthy decision making processes. This has changed a lot recently, though.
How well is fintech industry positioned in Germany? What do you think of fintech potential in your country?
We have seen some great fintech companies coming from Germany already years ago, when fintech wasn’t as media-hyped as today and probably not even called “fintech”. These days, we see a lot of startups arising and being able to get solid funding in Germany.
One big change that I could observe recently is the attitude of big banks towards young fintech companies; their new collaborative mindset will improve conditions for fintech models even more. What is still falling short (and this might be characteristic for the German startup scene in general) are the really big shots with real deep technical innovation, Neo banks, for example, still base their technology on current banking infrastructure, which is borderline legacy, instead of really reinventing the banking.
Where do you see your company in the long run?
Stocard will continue to shape the future of the mobile wallet. By focusing on shopping as a whole – not only payments – and putting the user first, we will continue to offer the best in class experience to become the leading mobile wallet in many parts of the world.
Exciting articles several times a month