Why founders of ChekMeIn sold 174 pints of beer and think they have a multi million dollar business?

Customer loyalty programs have been done to death. But is there scope for some disruption? Apparently there is. ChekMeIn, an early stage startup which rewards customers for sharing their wall with brands and promises higher conversion rates to store owners, is trying. Not that others (1, 2) haven’t tried before. While its a different scene in the United States where retailers even know if you are pregnant or not, most shops in India aren’t that tech savvy and this could help them sell better and at the same time deliver tailored offers to customer on their phone.

The problem?

Wouldn’t it be easier to sell to a person you know than to a person you are meeting for the first time? And what if you could sweeten the deal too? In return, you get the customer to talk about your brand on his social media circle. With ChekMeIn, that’s the whole idea.

The genesis of the concept is in the Indian retailer’s inability to recognize or engage a walk in / transacting customer. With ChekMeIn’s platform installed at the store, they can recognize and engage with the walkin customer. Moreover, the store can get visibility through the customer’s social media profile, increasing their reach.

How does it work?

Step 1: Customer visits www.chekmein.com and signs up using Facebook credentials. Why should anyone sign up? Signed up customers will receive deals and offers on the mobile phone when they walk into a particular store.

Step 2: When customers walk into a retail store, they see a poster which prompts them to send an sms to a given number. The customer will receive an offer and promo code on the phone. The company is building an app with which the store will interact directly without the customer having to send messages.

Step3: A post will be made on the customer’s behalf on their Facebook wall which announces the check-in and the offer communication.

Coming soon

When dealing with location based services the main problem is accurately telling where the customer is. “With existing methods, you can’t pin point the customer,” said Atit Divecha, co-founder, ChekMeIn. GPS based solutions can also be a drain on the users battery. To work around this, the company  is building a proprietary hardware based solution which will be installed at stores and will directly interact with the customer’s mobile app. “This leaves no margin for error,” he added.

Proving the story

Says Anil S Menon, Co-Founder, ChekMeIn

We have piloted the solution with few brands such as French Connection, Sab Miller and  ToyBus. A case in point is the fact that 174 pints of Beers were sold through ChekMeIn out of the 225 sold from a particular outlet of Juben Wines (Wine Shop) in 15 days. Each of ChekMeIn users are linked to 250 friends which is higher than the average number of friends for Facebook users overall, giving a far higher reach to brands.”

Making money & Opportunity?

Chekmein lends itself as an engagement platform to any brand with retail presence, says Menon. The brand can be both online and offline. In this equation there are mainly two stakeholders, the brand and the consumer.

So how much are we really talking?

Says Atit Divecha, CEO, ChekMeIn:

The organised retail industry size is pegged at $ 22.5 billion juxtapose this with 53 Million Facebook users and 27 Million smart phone users in India (17% growth in first quarter of March 2012) out of which 21 Million users look up the app stores. This we believe is the right size to go after.

Initially though we will be concentrating on the offline space to enable brands to connect with the customer. The platform would be a perfect fit for various categories like retail fashion, food chains and other multi brand outlets. Revenue is mostly performance based. There is also a one-time technology integration fee and a maintenance fee.

*Images: ChekMeIn

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