Accelerating mobile commerce and loyalty programs with Sionic Mobile’s Ronald Herman... >>
So many retailers are shooting to emulate Starbucks’ loyalty program. But they’re falling short. Way short. Why is that?
On the Tradestreaming Podcast this week, I speak with the founder and CEO of Sionic Mobile, Ronald Herman. Sionic is a mobile commerce platform provider and a fast-growing loyalty marketplace. We chat about the challenges and opportunities for SMBs to really embrace mobile commerce and how his firm designed a solution to minimize this friction. We talk about how e-gift card rails weren’t designed for large loyalty programs. Lastly, we discuss the industry’s struggles with a payment consortium and how a marketplace structure could be a better mousetrap.
Loyalty and mobile commerce: two sides of the same coin
We actually define mobile commerce a little differently than the rest of the market does. We tie rewards and customer rewards to the amount spent inside a shop, restaurant, and service place. But we also bundle that with advertising, special offers, and soon, with digital couponing that’s personalized down to the location of the mobile device. Very big retailers have very loyal and enthusiastic customers but for secondary tier and SMBs that can’t afford a big loyalty program, we can help augment their operations through our loyalty marketplace.
The difference between enterprise retail and SMBs
We started Sionic Mobile six years ago with the same chicken and egg scenario most entrepreneurs face: how do we get users onto a platform without inventory? For us, inventory is the ability to pay with your phone and collect rewards. We decided to go down the e-gift card rail. Our backend actually goes out and buys a digital gift card for the exact amount of purchase, presents it on the phone at the point of sale, and then turn around and credit rewards to the customer. Our whole goal is to create a big, rich marketplace where you can use an existing app on your device, accrue points, and spend them at any of the partners on the marketplace. No need to carry 27 loyalty punchcards.
It’s been really successful but as we get larger partners on the network, it’s a very costly proposition for companies like Staples and Lowes. So, now we still manage the payment but we integrate it through the payment terminals like Ingenico and Verifone or directly into large retailers’ POS systems. This way we cut out the expensive e-gift card rail which wasn’t developed for this purpose.
What’s coming down the pike for mobile commerce and loyalty.
My very first company back in ’92 used artificial intelligence to convert hand printed information into digital. I have AI in my blood. Recently, my friends at GM coined the term “cognitive commerce.” Cars are smart, know if you’re low on fuel, what the weather’s late and the last time it was servcies. IBM Watson will analyze these car habits, along with driving habits and soon, shopping habits. The dashboard and infotainment buttons will change based on what the car believes you’d be interested along the roof.
What happens when passengers leave the vehicle? You’re kind of in a black hole. What we’re doing, with the same IBM Watson backend, picks up where you leave the vehicle and takes customers round trip through the IBM cognitive commerce engine. You’ll have a much better dining and shopping experience based on the history of your habits.
Sionic Mobile Launches The Mobile Rewards Marketplace™... >>
ATLANTA–Sionic Mobile today announced the launch of a fully digital, Mobile Rewards Marketplace for small-to-medium sized business merchants (SMBs) and large chain retailers. Available early February, the Marketplace for SMBs is powered by the company’s award-winning ION Commerce Engine™ (ICE) and features speedy sign up, low-cost, bulk-rate mobile payments, merchant controlled rewards and untethered reach to millions of big-brand Mobile Rewards App consumers.
There are no upfront costs, complex integrations or expensive technology upgrades required to join the Marketplace. The Mobile Rewards Marketplace, a cloud-based web and mobile app solution, works alongside existing point of sale (POS) systems and standalone rewards programs.
The new Marketplace for enterprise retailers features automated data analysis and data-driven dashboards powered by IBM Watson Analytics, enabling Mobile Rewards App partners and enterprise retailers, who are integrated with Sionic Mobile’s ICE platform, to better engage and connect with mobile consumers. These analytics provide powerful insights related to customers’ spending traits across the entire Marketplace, and in turn, allows enterprise retailers to dynamically adjust rewards and deliver individualized offers using simple business rules.
“The Mobile Rewards Marketplace is a game changer for both SMB and large retail merchants,” said Ronald Herman, CEO and founder of Sionic Mobile. “We’re not aware of any other mobile payments and rewards offering that allows SMB owners to go mobile in five minutes or less, with no upfront cost or monthly fees, and immediately reach nearby Mobile Rewards App users. Likewise, our combined iBeacon-enabled ICE platform and Mobile Rewards Marketplace – an industry first – uniquely addresses in-store mobile payments and rewards for both retailer-branded mobile apps and the broader Marketplace cooperative, optimizing distinctly different use cases with a single integration.”
For SMB merchant members of the Mobile Rewards Marketplace, sales are entered as usual. Owners or staff use the free Marketplace mobile app to accept mobile-to-mobile payments using a QR Code or 3-digit code from the customer’s phone. That’s it. Immediately following a successful mobile checkout, customers receive instant rewards (points, miles, etc.) in their Mobile Rewards App. SMBs pay ONLY when accepting a mobile-to-mobile payment – 1% success fee, low card payment fee, and whatever reward they choose to give their mobile customers – typically 2% to 10% of checkout amounts.
Sionic Mobile’s ICE platform combines an extensive GeoSense® iBeacon network with important market insights, enabling custom greetings to consumers that drive awareness and generate more frequent app usage at businesses in the Marketplace. Additionally, the platform is integrated with popular payment terminals and POS systems for enterprise clients, supports mobile payments from most any iOS or Android device and any bank-issued credit or debit card. ICE payments are safe, secure and processed by J.P. Morgan Chase.
About Sionic Mobile
Midtown Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile, a cloud-based mobile commerce company, provides white-label mobile pay and loyalty applications to partners and clients delivering rewards, savings and perks to millions of mobile consumers. The award-winning ION Commerce Engine (ICE) and Company-owned, GeoSense® iBeacon network drives greater adoption and more frequent app use for partners and merchants. The ICE platform features IBM Watson Analytics for partners and enterprise retailers. The Company also operates the nation’s fastest growing Mobile Rewards Marketplace, comprised of large chain retailers and small businesses alike. Merchants pay a small fee when mobile customers pay with their app and the Company shares the fee with partners. Visit www.SionicMobile.com.
Contacts For Sionic Mobile
Anna Stanley, 678-781-3072
Airports send a clear signal to Bluetooth beacons... >>
Bluetooth beacons, which communicate with consumers’ apps as they enter and leave stores, have been bouncing around the retail industry for a few years looking for the right combination of foot traffic, product and customer experience.
Airports, which combine all three of those factors, are a particularly good spot for the technology, says Sionic Mobile CEO Ronald Herman.
“In the travel sector the volume is important, and the biggest issue is speed,” Herman said, noting that at one of the Popeye’s locations in Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport there’s a line “no matter how many cashiers are behind the counter.”
The Atlanta-based Sionic is testing its new beacon deployment at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which usually trades back and forth with Chicago’s O’Hare Airport as the world’s busiest. Sionic is pairing Apple iBeacons with its Sionic ION Loyalty app and the Oracle Micros/ION Commerce Engine point of sale system in an attempt to speed check in, loyalty rewards, ordering and payments at a group of Mack II eateries in the Atlanta airport.
Mack II operates Famous Famiglia Pizzeria, Baja Fresh Mexican, Phillips Seafood, Atlanta Bread, We Juice It and Popeye’s Chicken locations at the airport. The three initial restaurants are the pizza chain, Atlanta Bread Company and Phillips Seafood, a mix of a ‘grab and go,’ buffet bar and sit down restaurant, giving Sionic a view of beacon performance at a variety of restaurant types.
The other Atlanta airport restaurant locations will come on board early in 2017 and Sionic plans to deploy the in 73 other airports where it does business. Sionic will also collaborate with other apps, such as GM OnStar and other partners that it will announce in the near term, Herman said, adding Sionic will stick with travel-related use cases because of the mix of volume and the need for fast transactions.
Sionic’s goal is to go from a push notification when a consumer enters the store, a welcome message, offers and the “go to pay” button with Sionic’s three digit transaction code in about a minute. “There’s no card to hand over and the phone doesn’t leave the owner’s hands,” Herman said. “It’s all done through the cloud.”
Retailers and payment companies have used beacons for years, taking advantage of the technology’s ability to pair a user’s’ smartphone location to a store for uses ranging from location based marketing to bank-retailer partnerships, but have run into challenges because of issues such as store design.
There are also other potential uses for beacon technology at airports that make them an interesting deployment choice, according to Tim Sloane, vice president of payments innovation and director of the emerging technologies advisory service at Mercator. Airports have been the focus of other mobile payment initiatives, partly because of the airline’s use of mobile apps to help travelers navigate to their plane and retrieve boarding passes. “If the airline has a secure mobile app it could utilize the app and [Bluetooth Low Energy] to recognize the individual at the gate, to notify the individual to come to the counter if required and accept the boarding pass as the person enters the gate,” Sloane said. “It would be particularly interesting if airports and airlines worked together to define an architecture and interoperability.”
The timing is right for a major beacon deployment because of what Herman sees as a frustration with chip card payments—a large part of Sionic’s pitch is its ability to use a mobile app to bypass a traditional point of sale. “The EMV dip takes far too long and it leave lines,” he said.
The buzz surrounding Amazon’s new “no cashier” store also helps, according to Herman. “We believe that in the near future, and I’m talking within the next six months, there will be pilot tests out there for stores similar to Amazon,” he said.
Sionic Mobile Supercharges Its ION Commerce Engine With IBM Watson Analytics... >>
ATLANTA–Sionic Mobile today announced its award-winning ION Commerce Engine (ICE) now features automated data analysis and data-driven dashboards powered by IBM Watson Analytics, enabling partners and retailers to better engage and connect with millions of Mobile Rewards App users nationwide.
Sionic Mobile’s ICE mobile payments and loyalty platform combines an extensive GeoSenseⓇ beacon network with powerful market insights, enabling merchants to develop highly effective mobile marketing and loyalty campaigns to drive awareness and generate more frequent app usage. The new analytics component provides actionable data in a user-friendly environment helping businesses identify customer spending traits, loyalty and transaction trends, as well as market and demographic data.
“We’re providing retailers a robust, intuitive mobile commerce platform without the complexities normally associated with this level of analytics,” said Ronald Herman, CEO and founder of Sionic Mobile. “Other platforms in the market tout AI capabilities, promising retailers a wealth of data to drive sales and boost revenue. In reality, most retailers lack the resources required to perform intricate analysis of often cryptic, inaccessible data, and instead of artificial intelligence, are left with artificial ignorance. Incorporating IBM Watson Analytics with our proven loyalty and payments commerce engine will be a game changer for retailers that will not only amplify customer engagment and the overall user experience, but will provide a significant edge in a crowded mobile marketplace.”
Sionic Mobile’s ICE platform is integrated with popular payment terminals and POS systems for enterprise clients, supports mobile payments from most any iOS or Android device and any bank-issued credit or debit card.
About Sionic Mobile
Midtown Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile, a cloud-based mobile commerce company, provides white-label mobile pay and loyalty applications to partners and clients delivering rewards, savings and perks to millions of mobile consumers. The award-winning ION Commerce Engine (ICE) and Company-owned, GeoSenseⓇ iBeacon network drives greater adoption and more frequent app use for partners and merchants. The ICE platform features IBM Watson Analytics for partners and clients. The Company also operates the nation’s fastest growing Mobile Rewards Marketplace, comprised of large chain retailers and small businesses alike. Merchants pay a small fee when mobile customers pay with their app and the Company shares the fee with partners. Small business merchants use ION LoyaltyⓇ web and mobile apps to join the Mobile Rewards Marketplace. Visit www.SionicMobile.com.
For Sionic Mobile
Anna Stanley, 678-781-3072
Sionic Mobile and Payment Alliance International Launch Industry-First ATM iBeacon Proximity Mobile Advertising Network... >>
HOLLYWOOD, Fla.–Sionic Mobile, a cloud-based mobile commerce company, and Payment Alliance International (PAI), a leader in electronic payment processing solutions, today announced they have formed a strategic alliance to enhance the PAI ATM network (more than 74,000 terminals nationwide) with iBeacons, allowing advertisers to engage and connect with millions of mobile app users. Officially launched in mid-November at the annual PAI Market Partner Conference, the new PAI Beacon Network is an industry first and enables proximity-based mobile advertising and cardless cash redemption of earned mobile loyalty rewards.
“We are excited to launch this compelling new customer engagement tool and pleased to have this powerful new partnership with Sionic Mobile,” said John J. Leehy, III, president and chief executive officer of Payment Alliance International. “We believe the PAI Beacon Network will enhance the customer experience while driving new and valuable traffic to our machines and retail clients.”
The PAI Beacon Network can now offer national advertisers a powerful way to reach mobile-savvy, ready-to-spend consumers with compelling ads, thus inciting awareness and interest for their brands. The iBeacon technology sends a greeting to nearby app users, delivering proximity-based mobile ads and offers, and an invitation to redeem rewards for cash at a nearby ATM. Users simply opt for a cardless transaction then tap the “Mobile Rewards App” button and enter a single-use, three-digit code from their Mobile Rewards App to quickly and securely withdraw cash from a participating ATM. Powered by Sionic Mobile’s cloud-based ION Commerce Engine (ICE), each transaction is completed with advanced security and fraud prevention tools that protect both the consumer and the ATM owner.
“Our goal is to provide Mobile Rewards App users, including millions of our partners’ app users, tangible ways to use their earned rewards how they want, when they want, and wherever they want,” said Ronald Herman, founder & chief executive officer of Sionic Mobile. Herman continued, “It’s called the power of choice. The reality of redeeming airline miles, hotel points and other reward types for cash is right around the corner. PAI gives us a remarkable opportunity through their vast nationwide ATM network and advanced technology to give advertisers a way to reach millions of consumers, and Mobile Rewards App users a whole new way to view the value of their earned rewards. We are proud to partner with PAI on this amazing offering.”
Consumers receive instant rewards that spend like cash when they pay with their Mobile Rewards App at any merchant in Sionic Mobile’s Mobile Rewards Marketplace. Comprised of more than 100,000 retail & restaurant locations nationwide, it’s the nation’s fastest growing mobile marketplace for both large chain retailers and small businesses alike. Users will now have the option to view ads/offers and redeem their earned rewards for cash at PAI ATMs located in hotels, convenience stores, restaurants and shopping malls nationwide.
About Sionic Mobile
Midtown Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile, a cloud-based mobile commerce company, provides white-label mobile pay and loyalty applications to partners and clients delivering rewards, savings and perks to millions of mobile consumers. The award-winning ION Commerce Engine (ICE) and Company-owned, GeoSenseⓇ iBeacon network drives greater adoption and more frequent app use for partners and clients. The Company also operates the nation’s fastest growing Merchant Marketplace, comprised of large chain retailers and small businesses alike. Merchants pay a small fee when mobile customers pay with their app and the Company shares the fee with clients and partners. The Company directly engages businesses with ION LoyaltyⓇ web and mobile apps and consumers with the free ION RewardsⓇ app for iOS and Android. Visit www.SionicMobile.com.
About Payment Alliance International
Payment Alliance International (PAI) is the nation’s largest privately-held provider of ATMs and ATM Fleet Management Services, along with a wide range of comprehensive payment and small business solutions including credit, debit and prepaid card acceptance services in retail locations, online or on-the-go using mobile devices…all designed to maximize customer success and make business easy. Payment Alliance International is based in Louisville, Ky. For more information, please visit www.GoPAI.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
For Sionic Mobile
Anna Stanley, 678-781-3072
For Payment Alliance International
Terri Blain, 502-671-4088
Sionic Mobile’s M-Commerce Platform Now Connects Directly with Oracle MICROS Point-of-Sale... >>
ATLANTA–Just in time for the busy holiday travel season, Sionic Mobile today announced the integrated release of its award-winning ION Commerce Engine (ICE) with Oracle Hospitality MICROS POS solution. The integration provides a cardless, 3-digit checkout experience, enabling restaurants to quickly and securely process mobile payments, instantly reward guests and connect with millions of Mobile Rewards App users.
Airport restaurateur Hojeij Branded Foods (HBF) is one of the leading and fastest growing operators of food and beverage concessions in U.S.-based airports, with a portfolio of popular brands ranging from Arby’s and Chick-fil-A to Cat Cora’s Kitchen and P.F. Chang’s. Enabled by leading POS-provider Postec, Inc., HBF is among the first to pilot the new, fully integrated ICE-MICROS solution in select Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport restaurants. In the coming weeks, the company will be expanding the integrated service to other restaurants, POS systems and airport locations nationwide.
“We’re continually looking for ways to improve our guest experience,” said Regynald Washington, CEO of HBF, operating 40 brands with 73 locations in 14 airports. “Accepting digital payments from millions of Mobile Rewards App users then thanking them instantly in their preferred miles, points or other rewards is very appealing.”
Immediately following a successful mobile, 3-digit checkout, guests using the Mobile Rewards App receive instant rewards in their rewards currency of choice. As one of the only truly universal rewards programs, users can earn and spend rewards at any of the more than 100,000 retail and restaurant locations comprising the Mobile Rewards Marketplace.
Postec, Inc. President, Mike Seymour, said, “We had a swift and lightweight experience integrating Sionic Mobile’s ICE with the Oracle MICROS POS system. We’re pleased to support HBF’s desire for faster and safer mobile payments at their airport locations and look forward to offering the Mobile Rewards Marketplace opportunity to our other, non-airport customers as well.”
Sionic Mobile’s cloud-based ICE payment and loyalty platform powers multiple mobile pay and loyalty apps, reaching more than 150 million consumers. The company’s extensive GeoSenseⓇ beacon network drives merchant awareness and more frequent app usage. The platform is integrated with popular payment terminals and POS systems for enterprise clients, supporting mobile payments from most any iOS or Android device and any bank-issued credit or debit card.
Ronald Herman, CEO and founder of Sionic Mobile, said, “Restaurants, especially airport eateries, must be able to quickly serve guests, but still provide an exceptional service experience. Integrating our ICE platform directly with Oracle MICROS not only provides lightning-fast mobile payments processed by J.P. Morgan Chase, but also leverages our proven security and fraud prevention tools. We’ve designed this new solution to be the fastest digital checkout in the market while rewarding guests instantly, which encourages repeat business and builds brand loyalty even in an airport environment. We look forward to working with the teams at Postec, Inc. and HBF as we bring these latest innovations to restaurants throughout the airport and traveler rewards ecosystem.”
About Sionic Mobile
Midtown Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile, a cloud-based mobile commerce company, provides white-label mobile pay and loyalty applications to partners and clients delivering rewards, savings and perks to millions of mobile consumers. The award-winning ION Commerce Engine (ICE) and Company-owned, GeoSenseⓇ iBeacon network drives merchant awareness and more frequent app use. The Company also operates the nation’s fastest growing Mobile Rewards Marketplace, comprised of large chain retailers, small businesses and ATMs nationwide. Merchants pay a small fee when mobile customers pay with their Mobile Rewards App and the Company shares the fee with partners. Visit www.SionicMobile.com.
About Postec, Inc.
For 30 years, Postec Inc. has been providing innovative point of sale solutions to hospitality and grocery businesses throughout the Southeast. The company’s mission is to improve the customer’s bottom line through expert consultation, customized solutions and comprehensive support. Headquartered in Roswell, Georgia, Postec also has offices in Charlotte, Greenville, Myrtle Beach and Knoxville. Visit www.postec.com.
About Hojeij Branded Foods
Hojeij Branded Foods is an Atlanta based company operating over 73 restaurant and bars in 14 of the top 26 airports around the country for the past 22 years. HBF has over 40 widely known national, regional and local brands in its portfolio. Visit www.hbfairports.com.
For Sionic Mobile
Anna Stanley, 678-781-3072
Sionic Mobile and Salon Media22 Partner to Launch Style Rewards Mobile Payment and Loyalty App... >>
ATLANTA–Sionic Mobile and Salon Media22, a full-service interactive digital media agency for salon professionals, today announced they have partnered to launch Style Rewards, a mobile payment and loyalty app for stylists and salon owners’ clientele. Leveraging Sionic Mobile’s award-winning, cloud-based mobile commerce platform, Salon Media22 clients now also have immediate access to highly effective mobile marketing tools including unlimited mobile advertising, salon-branded eGift Cards, instant client rewards and faster, secure mobile payments.
“Growing a loyal customer base is key to running a successful and profitable salon,” said Frank Robinson III, CEO of Salon Media22. “The new Style Rewards app will be a game changer for many salons, allowing stylists to engage with customers right on their mobile device, build loyalty with instant rewards, savings and unique offers, as well as conveniently accept mobile payments. Our distinctive approach is simple, yet sophisticated, helping salon owners leverage digital, online and now mobile tools to build brand awareness within their community, maximize profits by moving more merchandise and more effectively connect with customers.”
Powered by Sionic Mobile’s ION Commerce Engine (ICE), the Salon Media22 online center allows salon owners to “go” mobile in a matter of minutes. There is no upfront cost, monthly fees or equipment to buy; salons continue to use their current point-of-sale systems and payment processors. Salon owners simply pay a low 1% marketing fee, 2% mobile payment fee and a minimum 1% loyalty reward, that is instantly and automatically awarded to clients using the Style Rewards app on their mobile device to pay for a purchase. Additionally, when salon owners join the Merchant Marketplace, they not only connect with Style Rewards app users, but also reach millions of other mobile-savvy prospects through partner-branded mobile rewards apps.
Sionic Mobile’s ICE platform provides advanced security and fraud prevention tools that protect both the salon owner and its clients from fraudulent payment activity. Mobile-to-mobile payments are faster and more secure than swiping or inserting plastic cards, while also providing an alternative to expensive EMV hardware upgrades.
“We look forward to working with Salon Media22 to provide salon professionals nationwide a simple, yet advanced mobile marketing and rewards service,” said Ronald Herman, Sionic Mobile CEO and founder. “We recognize that many salon owners shied away from investing in mobile solutions due to the overall cost and expense associated with most third-party platforms, the required equipment upgrades and/or the complex PoS system overhauls. The Salon Media22 service eliminates these obstacles, providing an affordable, faster and more secure mobile solution.”
The new Style Rewards app provides clients with instant rewards that spend like cash and can be used at any of the more than 100,000 retail locations comprising the Merchant Marketplace, the nation’s fastest growing mobile marketplace comprised of large chain retailers and small businesses alike. Additionally, the universal rewards program allows users to earn and spend rewards (that never expire) at any participating merchant location, with zero restrictions, and no pending periods or black-out dates.
About Sionic Mobile
Midtown Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile, a cloud-based mobile commerce company, provides white-label mobile pay and loyalty applications to partners and clients delivering rewards, savings and perks to millions of mobile consumers. The award-winning ION Commerce Engine (ICE) and company-owned, GeoSense® iBeacon network drives greater adoption and more frequent app use for partners and clients. The company also operates the nation’s fastest growing Merchant Marketplace, comprised of large chain retailers and small businesses alike. Merchants pay a small fee when mobile customers pay with their app and the company shares the fee with clients and partners. Sionic Mobile directly engages businesses with ION Loyalty® web and mobile apps and consumers with the free ION Rewards® app for iOS and Android. Visit www.SionicMobile.com.
3 Questions with Ron Herman of Sionic Mobile... >>
FintekNews is pleased to offer our weekly feature column “3 Questions”. Each week, we feature a thought leader within a unique sector of fintech and ask them to answer just 3 questions for our audience in their vernacular. This week we are pleased to introduce you to Ron Herman of Sionic Mobile, a coud-based mobile commerce company based in Atlanta.
Founder and CEO
What does your firm do/offer within the fintech sector?
Sionic Mobile is a cloud-based mobile commerce company that operates the fastest growing merchant marketplace where consumers earn rewards at every mobile checkout, save on personalized products or services and get free perks for paying with their phone.
Our ION Commerce Engine (ICE) underpins corporate clients’ mobile apps reaching more than 150 million consumers in the U.S. We expect the number of marketplace merchant locations, comprised of large chain retailers and small businesses alike, to exceed two million in 2017 making it the largest mobile payments and loyalty network in the nation.
What has been the biggest success & failure in your firm to date?
(Our biggest success was) securing a Full Liability Submitter relationship with J. P. Morgan Chase for processing mobile payments. We were the third company behind Amazon and Uber to accomplish this, and it positions us well to expand with the upcoming Chase Pay and Chase Net platform. Chase Pay is a QR Code-based mobile payment solution offered to Chase Bank and cardholder customers. Chase Net is the result of a long-term contract between Visa and J.P. Morgan, allowing Chase to process its own issued credit cards at a lower cost. Market research shows approximately 24% of U.S. credit cards are issued by Chase.
(Our biggest failure occurred when) we opted to outsource the development of our first generation platform to a local company with offshore developers. The original plan was designed to reduce cost while accelerating the release of our applications in the market. Not only did the project fees quickly exceed budget, but we also ended up scrapping the entire system and hired a team of internal developers. In the end, we wound up settling the dispute through mediation but the experience was terribly distracting and nearly put us out of business.
How do you feel consumers and businesses are adapting to the facet of fintech that your company operates within?
Prior to the release of Apple Pay, neither consumers nor merchants cared too much about mobile payments. Then Google Wallet acquired Softcard’s assets to create Android Pay and Samsung acquired Loop to produce Samsung Pay. Next up, 30-plus big brands formed MCX (Merchant Customer Exchange) with the intent to create their own ACH-based payment rail and reduce credit card fees. Their app, CurrentC, never made it to market.
Fast forward, and we are now embarking on what can only be described as explosive adoption. Merchants and payments companies have finally figured out that most consumers are not inspired to tap their phones to pay at checkout versus pull out a plastic card. To change consumer behavior, merchants and other ecosystem players must wrap three incentives around mobile payments: instant universal rewards, savings on personalized items and services and free perks.
Enter the ability to pay with any iOS or Android phone and any linked bank-issued debit or credit card at millions of places using nothing more than a secure, 3-digit code, and we have a perfect storm.
Ronald Herman is founder and CEO of Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile. He has 25 years of executive technology leadership experience ranging from early stage start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Since 2000, Ron has focused exclusively on mobile communications technology, including location-based services, mobile marketing and more recently, cloud computing-based mobile commerce.
Sionic Mobile Provides OnStar Subscribers Instant, Exclusive Savings and Secure Mobile Checkouts... >>
ION Digital Merchant Marketplace Now Featured in AtYourService for GM-Brand Mobile Apps
ATLANTA–Sionic Mobile today announced its premier Merchant Marketplace, featuring 100,000-plus retail and restaurant locations, is now part of the OnStar AtYourService marketplace inside myChevrolet™, myBuick™, myGMC™ and myCadillac™ mobile applications, providing millions of drivers with exclusive savings at nearby merchants. Additionally, OnStar subscribers can now complete fast, secure mobile checkouts powered by Sionic Mobile’s ION Rewards app.
“We continue to grow our OnStar AtYourService ecosystem to create more value for our connected drivers and enhance their ownership experience,” said Mark Lloyd, consumer online officer, Global Connected Customer Experience, GM. “Sionic Mobile is helping us deliver content with every day savings at many national and regional merchants.”
First launched in early 2015, OnStar’s AtYourService mobile commerce platform drives digital engagement between drivers and merchants. Integrating Sionic Mobile’s ION Merchant Marketplace further enhances this engagement, providing OnStar subscribers access to more nationwide retailers, restaurants, spas, hotels and cinemas than any other mobile rewards program in the market today. OnStar subscribers can download the ION Rewards app using the links provided through OnStar AtYourService. After signing up for the free ION Rewards program, with a few simple taps, OnStar subscribers can pay for purchases on their phones and receive real-time savings for every checkout, on top of credit card and other loyalty points.
“GM-brand mobile app users can now conveniently make purchases with their phones and receive instant savings at their favorite merchants nationwide,” said Ronald Herman, CEO and founder, Sionic Mobile. “Working closely with OnStar, the pioneering provider of driver connectivity, safety and concierge services, we’ve created a simple, yet robust user experience that is unique in the automotive industry.”
A full list of retailers included in the premier ION Merchant Marketplace now featured in OnStar AtYourService can be found here: http://www.ionrewards.com/marketplace/. OnStar AtYourService Offers and Connections are available to any subscriber with an OnStar plan in the U.S. To learn more about OnStar AtYourService visit: www.onstar.com.
About Sionic Mobile
Midtown Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile, a cloud-based mobile commerce company, provides white-label mobile pay and loyalty applications to partners and clients delivering rewards, savings and perks to millions of mobile consumers. The award-winning ION Commerce Engine (ICE) and Company-owned iBeacon network drives greater adoption and more frequent app use for partners and clients. The Company also operates the nation’s fastest growing Merchant Marketplace, comprised of large chain retailers and small businesses alike. Merchants pay a small fee when mobile customers pay with their app and the Company shares the fee with clients and partners.
The Company directly engages businesses with ION LoyaltyⓇ web and mobile apps and consumers with the free ION RewardsⓇ app for iOS and Android. Visit www.SionicMobile.com.
For Sionic Mobile
Anna Stanley, 678-781-3072
YourHome1Source.com Launches YourHomeSavings for Home Service Professionals... >>
Connecting home pros with home buyers and owners accepting mobile payments in the field and instant customer rewards
CITRUS HILLS, Fla. — YourHome1Source.com today announced the availability of their advanced mobile loyalty program for home service professionals. The new system allows service pros to go mobile in a matter of minutes, connecting their businesses with mobile-savvy customers across the country. Providers can now leverage a pay-per-use, highly-effective mobile marketing and loyalty platform featuring unlimited advertising; fast, secure mobile payments; and instant customer incentives via the new YourHomeSavings platform.
YourHome1Source.com, the fastest growing home services authority, connects professionals with consumers nationwide through a feature-rich website that provides reliable information and practical resources for homeowners or would-be homeowners. The company partnered with Sionic Mobile to extend these services to a mobile experience for all home service providers, from home inspectors to pest control, or home security to home warranty providers.
Antony Francis, Director of Digital Marketing & Innovation for YourHome1Source.com, said, “Home pros can quickly and easily sign up for YourHomeSavings on YourHome1Source.com. There are no sign up costs or monthly fees, and mobile payments are processed at a low 2% flat rate, plus a 1% marketing fee, only when someone pays for home services with their smartphone or tablet device.”
During account setup, providers simply download the free YourHomeSavings app to get started. The YourHomeSavings platform gives home service professionals powerful visibility and reach to ready-to-spend, mobile-savvy consumers and enables home pros to post ads on the app for free and to accept mobile payments at their businesses or in the field. “Consumers will receive real-time, instant savings by paying home pros with their mobile devices,” Francis added.
Ronald Herman, CEO and founder of Sionic Mobile, said, “YourHome1Source.com’s national Home Service Pro resources are far more comprehensive than any other real estate or home services provider, giving tips and advice across a broad spectrum of home buyer and owners needs. YourHome1Source.com is rapidly becoming the go-to website, and the new mobile experience powered by ION Loyalty gives services professionals a powerful tool to reach millions of consumers and easily and conveniently transact business in the field.”
Financial Fitness, LLC developed YourHome1Source.com to provide a Single-Site Resource for consumers seeking practical and reliable information on residential real estate services. Our primary purpose is to help people make informed decisions on matters related to their home. We research a variety of home services, look for service leaders in each category and through our findings and the guidance of these service leaders, we provide consumers with practical advice and cost-saving opportunities in all home services categories. The website is free for consumers and provides an affordable nationwide marketing venue for home service professionals. To learn more, visit: http://www.yourhome1source.com/