I’ve been following through a Japanese blog called Trends in Japan that always have some good news about how media is used in Japan, and Mc Donalds have been doing some great Breakthroughs.
On May 27th Nintendo, in cooperation with McDonalds, started a new wireless information and gaming service in 21 restaurants around Tokyo. This is part of the Nintendo Spot project to give DS gamers wireless access to the internet on the train and in McDonald’s restaurants.
Different to Europe and America it is hard to find a restaurant or bar in Japan offering a free WiFi hotspot to connect your computer or mobile gaming device to the Web. That is because Japanese usually use their mobile phones to connect to the internet, but also because of security concerns about open networks. Another important reason is that restaurant owners in Japan aren’t interested in having their customers lingering around in the often overcrowded spots in downtown.
Also after nearly a year in development, McDonalds Japan has finally released it’s innovative new Kazasu Coupon (Contactless Coupon) loyalty and payment program, beginning with 175 stores and expanding gradually to its 3,800 nationwide stores by 2009.
Kazasu Coupon uses Felica RFID technology installed in most modern Japanese phones to create the first program of this type, allowing customers to choose their meals, redeem coupons, and pay for purchases all with their mobile phones. This is similar to CMode, the vending machine payment/coupon system from Coca-Cola, but with a far greater reach and selection.
To join, customers must download an application to their phones and register via mobile web, allowing them to choose the coupons they like. When making their purchase at McDonalds, the coupon is redeemed by placing the phone near the RFID reader at the register, instantly adding the item to the order. To complete the order, payment can also be done using NTT Docomo’s iD mobile wallet.
Kazasu Coupon has the potential to be a powerful CRM program for McDonalds, allowing them to target coupons and campaigns directly to customer’s mobile phones according to their preferences and purchase history.
While this is still in a testing phase, Kazasu Coupon will likely include more interactive features and downloadable content once it becomes a full-fledged loyalty program and will focus on CRM directly to the pockets and pocketbooks of their customers.
This shows how great are the opportunities media convergence offers to new business and marketing models.