Thursday, October 25, 2012

Regarding point card schemes

Today I received this message on my phone:

"Dear Biotherm Club member, your points will expire on 24/11/2012. Do make a transaction to reach 500 points & redeem your rewards"

"Dear Biotherm Club member":
For the record, I am not a Biotherm Club member I have difficulties to understand why I received this message in the first place. Usually I would have ignored this SPAM. But it is a good example why point car loyalty programs hardly work for most of the products.

"Your points will expire":
Point expiration: So, I hypothetically signed up with your service, bought some products, etc. Obviously I haven't been with you in a while therefore you write me a message to remind me. So far so good. But with point expiration you start to threaten me that I lose everything in around one month time unless I do what you tell me.

"Do make a transaction"
Aside from the perceived coldness of this statement it is so forcefully delivered that I have no choice but to react annoyed. The annoyance comes basically from the old "What is in for me ? " question.

"Redeem your rewards"
Again very generic. On the other hand cool, I can get rewards.  So what can I get? A Porsche,  a flight to Bali ? A free lunch ?  A free coffee ? Anything ? Most loyalty programs I have participated in have really bad reward schemes. So why should I be interested in this proposal ? In addition, in order to have reached the aforementioned 500 points threshold, I have just purchased some of your products. Assumed that the rewards are more products from your company. Why should I be interested in having them since if I don't own them already?

Where this comes down to is that this marketing tool has no edges unless you can offer the customer something that he or she perceives as valuable. Loyalty points do not offer value. They only offer vanity.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hacker News Tokyo #15 @GMO Yours

The wonderful ladies and gentlemen from GMO Yours in Tokyo sponsored this event and did an amazing service to the Hacker and Startup Community in Japan. 
While this meet-up still have some more room to grow, you can easily see where this is going.

Thank you all for your efforts, I had a great time!

 Enjoying the meet-up with Yves and Yamaguchi-san from MediWeb.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

An exercise in mobile urban exploration

Visiting Odaiba on a mellow Sunday afternoon is always a worthwhile experience.
Since the beta-testing of our new Mobile Urban Exploration App Qyu is going really well, we figured it might be a good point in time to go for a test-run in DiverCity Tokyo, one of the newest additions to Odaiba's already impressive array of shopping centers.

The Quest : 

Understand the state of mobile urban exploration in DiverCity Tokyo.

What do I mean with mobile urban exploration?

In reality, the greatest benefit of bringing a smart-phone into a shopping center is to have a device at hand which theoretically provides an additional incentive to distinguish one brand from the other.

In other words, the more time I spend in your store the less time I spend at your competitors'.

So, how are these retail stores in this brand new shopping center in Odaiba prepared for my mobile onslaught?

Now, from the view-point of the uneducated consumer, my mission was to identify all mobile enabled services and try to proceed as far as possible to "engage".

In the DiverCity shopping complex there are more than 100 stores ranging from Zara, H&M, Old Navy, and Uniqlo to Restaurants and entertainment services like GundamFront


To break it down into numbers. From all these stores only 8 (eight) had some kind of mobile enhanced shopping experience displayed. Mostly in the form of QR-Codes. So, where did these QR-Codes lead me ?

5 times we were led to a mobile corporate website. Non-location enabled. 3/5 registration necessary.

2 times the QR-Code connected to a mail-magazine registration.
Once we connect to an App-Download site.

Overall, the experience was dreadful. Here the two worst examples: 

Theoretically, GundamFront had cool smartphone enabled game (Gunpla Search). Unfortunately, the QR-Code lead me to this wonderfully designed experience. Yes, the font is that small. 

 Whereas the DiverCity official link led me here.  


We still have a long long way to go until retail stores are actually "mobile-ready".  For the record, when I am in a shopping center, I am generally not alone and in addition, not necessarily in the mood to register at 10 different places with my smart-phone. Further, why should I tag the qr-code and visit the stores website while being in-the-store! This is the offline equivalent to "please visit our store for more information".

Overall, it was a fun and relaxing Sunday. However, retail stores are nowhere near their potential in regards to using mobile phone enhanced services to lure the customer in.

That said, playing mobile-exploration with Qyu was loads of fun. We collected a boat-load of valuable information.

Will definitely play again.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

21 Countries

21 Countries.

Our little Koto app has become an adult. We have now customers from globally 21 distinct countries.

While of course, most customers are from Japan, the United States, and China it is fun to see how has in interest in furthering his or her Japanese with our app.

In contrast, when the United Nations were founded in 1945, there were 51 participating countries. As of 2011, the participating countries in the United Nations have reached 193.

If our little app helps all these different countries to communicate easily the world will be a better place.

Friday, April 20, 2012

What's up with Apple's iAds ?

A couple of weeks ago I thought it would be fun to give iAds a try and test a theory on how customer acquisitions would change if the price is reduced from an already low 0.99c to free.

Although it is still quite early (I am only in the first months of data), for me personally, there are now three major takeaways from this.

1. People love free stuff. (Duh!)
My app "downloads" were cool. Unfortunately, everything for free.
But well. The app IS quite difficult to find since the name is quite generic.

2. People us my product.
Based on the iAd data I had the opportunity to see how and where my app was used.
It is a wonderful feeling to see that people allover the world are actually using my product.

I have to admit Koto was always a little bit of a selfish app since it was supposed to solve my (and I originally thought only my) problem. While sitting on the train in the morning, I needed something to
play around with which actually improves my Japanese. But now there are thousands of users all around the globe. Wow!

Thank you very much! 

Now, here comes the negative surprise.
Suddenly at the beginning of last week the fill ratio dropped.


From the regional data we could observe that roughly 75% of requests came from areas that actually have iAd support like Japan, Germany, and the United States.  Roughly 15% of requests came from China and Singapore where the service is not yet supported. Therefore, we can conclude that the numbers should be better.

After some more research  it became apparent that the fill ratio algorithm is related to the actual units sold. And, as I have not doing much marketing in the last week the downloads volume decreased as well.

Therefore, my last take-away (for now)

3. iAds work best for products that already have a lot of traction.
I have roughly doubled my revenue from Koto while my user-base increased 20-fold.
This increase would have never happened with the payment model. However, the revenue increase
dramatically lags the increase in user base.

And this is exactly the point where I start considering using other ad suppliers. 


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Customer Engagement in the Mobile Age - From QR to Augmented Reality" on March 27th 2011 @Hotel Suave in Tokyo (near Shibuya)

If you want to know how the mobile age will change your business and learn about the tools which will help you manage your customer engagement in the future, then my presentation might be just perfect for you.
More information here:
Entrance: Y1,500 (includes one drink and finger food)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1.2.12, Is this thing on?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure that, after one year of hard work, I can announce the kick-off for this wonderful platform which will guide us to keep you informed about the ongoing developments at Tenqyu. 

It is simply stunning how humanity has developed these extremely powerful tools; enabling everyone to publish and communicate with great speed and efficiency. 

A speed and efficiency that is only matched by our promise to deliver our highest level of service quality to you.

Our promise for service quality is embedded on three strong pillars of commitment.

1. Simple
2. Elegant, and
3. Useful

Into every product we develop, we embed the notion of simplicity and focus on guiding the customer experience.

For all our products, it means that they need to be understandable and usable without any manual or instructions.

Our products are as simple as they have to be; but not more.

For each of our products we believe that a simple and clean seed will enable us to grow each product into a successful tree.

For each of our products we think, design, test, think, re-iterate, until we believe that the quality standard that our customers require has been met.

We believe that elegance is an expression of operational discipline.

In most modern larger corporations, it has become a habit to focus on the "quick fixes" which leads to a degradation in morale and operational effectiveness.

We at Tenqyu believe that inelegant solutions lead to sloppiness and clutter.

We at Tenqyu believe striving for the most elegant solution is the ultimate expression of autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Every employee at Tenqyu has the responsibility to master the product he or she is controlling and is given the autonomy to make his or her product the best solution for the given problem.

At Tenqyu we define useful as “serving a purpose to a positive effect for the customer and the company.”

We believe that products that are useful do provide sufficient benefit to the customer and the company. Therefore, we employ stringent quality control and customer satisfaction analytics to ensure that we provide the ultimate experience to the customer.

We at Tenqyu believe that when these criteria are met we can give you a pleasant experience.

And this is what we stand for:  For pleasant living.

Jan Daniel Semrau