The mantra in mobile payments is that it's not about the payment, it's about the data. By that, mobile payment providers mean that the transaction process itself is a commodity; what really matters is how merchants can use the data from that transaction.
Mobile payments enable merchants to put data to excellent use. Using mobile technology, merchants can track purchase history, connect online behavior with offline shopping habits, and even place a customer in the real world using a smartphone's geo-location capabilities.
Now Austin-based mobile app-maker Tabbedout is getting serious about data. The company has announced that along with its convenient mobile payment app, it will also offer bars and restaurants a customer relationship management solution that ties into the app. The new CRM solution will provide access to customer preference data, allow merchants to send and track offers and manage guest feedback, Tabbedout said.
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"Merchants are already spending money on things like advertising, food and drink specials and daily deal sites in an effort to grow their business," said Alex Broeker, president of Tabbedout, in the announcement. "But trying to figure out what's working, and tracking the ROI on those investments is difficult at best. With our CRM product, merchants can see which programs are effective, target and segment offers to the guests they want to bring into their location, and personalize the guest experience like never before — things that no other mobile payment provider can offer."
Tabbedout said its CRM solution provides not only access to customer-level data, but also an easy-to-understand dashboard to organize and collate it. The dashboard, which can also be accessed from a mobile device, lets merchants see the performance and value of offers all the way down to a tab-level detail of orders. Merchants and wait staff can see whether a guest is a new customer or a regular, how much a customer usually spend at a restaurant and what they like to eat or drink. The result is a better experience for customers.
Tabbedouts's CRM solution also lets merchants receive feedback from customers and respond in real-time through the payment application, even letting them send special offers to blunt a negative experience or show appreciation to repeat customers.
The next step
Tabbedout said its CRM solution is a natural progression for its mobile payment platform. The company has been providing a simple, intuitive mobile payment app to hospitality merchants since 2010. The app, available for both iOS and Android devices, lets patrons of bars and restaurants open a tab on their mobile device that can be closed out and paid without having to wait for a check. The app securely stores diners' credit card information so it also eliminates the possibility of fraud from servers stealing credit card data.
Recently, Tabbedout's strategy for pushing adoption of its app is integrating its solution with providers of hospitality POS devices like MICROS, NCR and Dinerware. That means restaurants and bars can offer a mobile payment solution without having to install any special hardware to read barcodes or process contactless transactions.
And with the new CRM solution, bars and restaurants can leverage all that mobile payment data.
"We are the only mobile payment solution with POS integrations at the extensive level we have with each major hospitality POS provider," said Kelly Harper, VP of product development for Tabbedout. "Because of this, we are able to give merchants a platform that combines mobile payment and customer relationship management into one solution that seamlessly integrates with their existing systems, making it easy to install and deploy."