Both companies capitalize on mom-and-pop shops’ fear of falling behind in the digital age
If you’re a retailer in the United States, particularly a small bricks-and-mortar shop, you’re probably running scared. Not only is e-commerce eating into your market share, but retail sales as a whole are down as wages stagnate and the middle class feels increasingly squeezed.
Conduit, founded in 2010 by Ronen Shilo, Dror Erez, Gaby Bilczyk, and Orit Balicer-Tsur , used to be a “Download Valley” startup, installing potentially unwanted toolbars and changing browser settings on users’ computers. But about a year ago the company pivoted, changing its name to Como in the process.
Como helps small businesses build their own consumer-facing app in a way that is similar to how Wix lets small businesses build their own websites. Como offers a series of templates and features to choose from. App creators need only drag and drop, without having to know how to code.
But in a world where, as the typical marketing mantra puts it, “customers find it easy to switch supplier, loyalty schemes are an effective way to increase customer retention and improve your profitability,” small businesses are desperate to jump on the digital bandwagon. Since customers are no longer loyal, the thinking goes, they’ll jump around the Web to wherever they can get a deal.
So what does a mobile loyalty program do? It offers customers coupons, freebies, and incentives and tries to target them by collecting information about them through their GPS location and “analytics.” It then keeps them hooked through gamification.
Small businesses can’t compete with giants like Amazon when it comes to big data and mass surveillance, but having a loyalty program at least puts them in the game. For Como, it’s an additional offering that will make its app platform even more attractive to small businesses.