The rise of Pokémon GO had unexpectedly helped bricks-and-mortar stores in different parts of the world to claim back its visitors. As trainers stroll around the city looking for pocket monsters, they stop at cafés and restaurants to catch rare Pokemon nearby, eventually leaving with a can of soda or two.
Pomona, a Jakarta-based startup, aims to use this concept to help bricks-and-mortar stores tackle the challenge of driving foot-traffic and increasing in-store engagement.
In an e-mail to e27, Pomona CEO and Co-Founder Benz Budiman explained how offline retailers tend to have higher conversion rates compared to online stores; while offline retailers convert between 20 to 95 per cent of browsers to sales (depending on its category), online stores stay between 0.5 to three per cent.
Though seemingly insignificant, casual visits to an online retailer shop often end up driving these conversion rates for businesses.
“We talked to various retailers (restaurants, clothing stores, etcetra) and surprisingly, every one of them stated the aforementioned issue. This validated the problem that we are solving,” Budiman says.
“If foot-traffic is that important, why does no retailer ever reward customers for visiting a store? Why only for purchases, not for visits? One simple answer: It’s because they don’t have a clue that the customer are in their store at the first place,” he further explains.
The Pomona app rewards users for visiting a store by allowing them to check-in at a store, and gives them points that they can exchange with prizes.
“You can call us the ‘Pokémon GO of Shoppers.’ But instead of catching virtual monsters, with Pomona you can catch points that you can exchange with prizes such as credits, vouchers, and even free gadgets,” Budiman says.
With co-founder Ariawan Suwendi, Budiman learned that the concept has been used by a US-based startup named Shopkick, which was acquired by SK Telecom for US$200 million in 2014. It encouraged the co-founders to give the business a try.
Launched in May this year, Pomona claimed that the app has secured more than 200 “exclusive” outlets, more than 25,000 users in both iOS and Android, and a community of more than 150 influencers (with a reach of 300,000 to 500,000 eye balls).
The company also claimed to have driven approximately IDR400 million (US$30,500) to its partner-stores.
It is currently in the process of raising a new round of funding.
Armed with a team of 11 employees, Pomona has big agenda for the year 2016.
“We plan to continue improving on our products and execution, strengthen our team, and establish our position as one of the leaders in this O2O space. We will also be adding a talented and experienced figure, Sid Nandy, with previous experience in Rocket Internet and Living Social to our management team as our CMO,” Budiman announces.
Pomona also aims to secure at least 50,000 users by end of the year, expand its merchant and retail network in Jakarta, while also collaborating with big events.
They just got to catch ’em all.