RainCheck aims to revolutionize how brands and customers connect by introducing an innovative digital currency-based loyalty program, the RainCheck Platform. By using the blockchain, RainCheck hopes to replace clunky centralized system of traditional loyalty programs with its platform that benefits both businesses and customers equally.
The platform offers a unique card-linking feature, meaning that loyalty cards are a thing of the past as RainCheck automatically links loyalty points and rewards to the user’s debit or credit card, a feature that is further improved by RainCheck’s ability to collect and spend loyalty points across multiple retailers with the RAIN Token (RainCheck’s utility token).
Starting off in November 2014 as an online-to-offline commerce facilitating company, RainCheck gives companies an additional tool to analyze online product searches and discovery. The resulting data can then be used to help improve the process of moving customers from searching online to making offline transactions—also one of RainCheck’s major goals.
We recently sat down with RainCheck’s CEO, Cameron Wall, to have a chat with him about the project as well as learning more about his thoughts and insights.
Hello there, Cameron! Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us more about RainCheck and the RAIN Token?
Thanks for having me, it’s a pleasure to be here. The RainCheck venture is almost 4 years young now and over that time we have always held our mission of transcending the digital and physical worlds or O2O (online-to-offline).
The original platform was launched to solve the problem that retail brands had with around 85% of people discovering products online yet around 90% of purchase transactions still happened in physical stores. The first phase was to allow people to save products they found online and be notified when they were our shopping near a store that stocks those items. The next phase involved the payment integration at the POS and looping that sale back to the online discovery, so O2O attribution was finally achieved.
The current integration that is about to launch involves linking payment cards into the process so that rewards can be linked directly to the cards you already use to purchase products.
The RAIN Token is a digital cryptocurrency store of value that will bind all of the loyalty across multiple brands under a single transferable unit.
Tell us about how you came up with the idea of RainCheck.
Did you personally face a problem within the industry or do you think there is a gap in the market for the platform to fill?
I was working for Publicis Group and was head of Mobile for APAC and we were carrying out quite a few eCommerce replatform projects for some global brands and I noticed that the online shopping cart abandonment rates were through the roof, I’m talking 70-80% across the board. I know that there is the usual reason for this like shipping cost and time, the final cost is too high etc. however I thought there must be something else. We did some initial research and found that many people would add products to shopping carts as although they likes the product they wanted to save it for later consideration. I thought it is 2014 and there is no universal wishlist, why not?
So we fixed the problem and RainCheck was born.
What do you think is the biggest problem RainCheck will solve and why is it important to solve?
Providing a seamless omnichannel shopping experience is the main goal. The process is far too disjointed right now with many retail brands having a physical store network and also a digital online business and different people running each side. Consumers, the shoppers don’t care about how that should be streamlined they just expect it to be a seamless experience. The path-to-purchase from discovery to ownership has changed dramatically and its the consumers who have the tool that blends it all together and it’s the Smartphone and its O2O.
Multiple startups have moved on with the idea of using the blockchain to change how loyalty programs but in your own words, why do you think the blockchain is such a suitable technology for something like loyalty programs?
Are there any clear advantages for the blockchain compared to other technologies? Is there a possibility that RainCheck will play a role in moving loyalty programs for big retailers (e.g Uniqlo, Amazon) to the blockchain?
A Blockchain based crypto-based token is central to the operation of the decentralized loyalty solution. Demand for the token can be generated via members of the program when they transact and earn with participating retailers and completing simple tasks.
This type of demand is more stable and consistent, unlike trading which is driven by market sentiment. Imagine a blockchain company where most of the cryptocurrency buying comes from members earning within the loyalty rewards program. Sustained, consistent demand delivering a solid price foundation.
When a blockchain loyalty company achieves this, it won’t matter if they’re on big exchanges or not. They can ultimately separate their token from a dependence on exchange trading. They will be in a very different situation from all other blockchain companies. Market sentiment will no longer affect them. Through this, they will thrive and survive while other companies fail.
The RAIN token is also built onto the Stellar protocol and most other projects are based on the ERC-20 Smart Contract protocol (Ethereum), which is not even close to being a platform that can handle loyalty rewards. The Stellar network can handle transaction speeds of 3-5sec at almost zero cost where an Ethereum based transaction can take 4-15min and could cost $1-15+.
Our strategy is to provide a LaaS (Loyalty-as-a-Service) solution to all retail brands of any size that has a universal unit of reward value which is what people want. The larger players will come later when many people are trading over many brands with the RAIN Token, they will simply have to join the ecosystem and smart contracts will be able to glue it altogether controlling distributed value between brands.
Can you tell us more about how a customer’s debit or credit card can be linked to every one of the customer’s loyalty programs?
Are there any special requirements or conditions that must be fulfilled before this can happen?
What about RainCheck’s feature of allowing rewards to be interchanged with rewards or loyalty points of other brands?
Most people still use payment cards, both debit and credit and its taken over 60 years to get here. They are not going away anytime soon. POS software and the payment terminals that glue the cards to the payment process and well entrenched everywhere. Why should people carry a whole bunch of other loyalty cards as well? Why not link all the loyalty to the cards you actually use to buy things?
The process to enroll a payment card for card linking is very simple and only has to be completed once. The payment card details are tokenized and you are ready to link payments to offers, rewards and even cash-back.
Most card-linked offers (CLO’s) are merchant based meaning that an offer, reward or cash-back can be done by visiting a merchant and spending a set amount and a certain time. RainCheck can take this further and is what our patent is based on and that is at a product level. We can reward people when they purchase a certain product as well.
All rewards are linked to payment cards and also managed in the RainCheck Mobile Wallet where the RAIN Tokens can be stored and also transferred or even used to purchase products as the platform matures. The RAIN Tokens can be transferred cross border and within a few seconds and zero cost which is pretty cool.
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RainCheck – Changing How Loyalty Programs Are Run & Connecting Online-Offline Commerce With The Blockchain
E-commerce has been the go-to strategy for businesses all over the world, a trend that has been spurred further by the dominance of social media and online marketing. Despite its dominance, there are several problems in e-commerce that need to be addressed quickly by businesses. Many businesses think that putting
An integral part of RainCheck is that the platform is operating at the SKU level compared to other platforms which run at the merchant level.
The differences between these two levels may not be obvious to the average person; could you explain what separates these two levels from each other?
What makes the SKU level that RainCheck operates in more impressive than other systems?
Being able to create card-linked offers at SKU-level or product level is groundbreaking, not only for people shopping however for retail brands. If a brand needs to move stock fast they can add a much higher discount to certain products without discounting top selling products. People that like certain types of products can also be notified when they have offers on them.
Run us through the concept of saving (or RainChecking) products on the platform.
Do users have to specifically use brands participating in RainCheck platform to save products or is it more like a browser extension where they can browse their favorite online stores and save it on the platform?
Are there limits (time limits, quantity limits etc) or restrictions on what items can be saved on RainCheck?
The only requirement for the brand site is that Raincheck has included them in the system which takes a few seconds. Once the site is enabled products can be RainChecked by anyone using the browser extension on Chrome of Safari. The geofencing capability will also work when you are near a store that sells any brand items you have saved. If we have product and stock inventory feeds then we have an integration onto the site where the brand site will call our API, this can offer SKU-level data matching and a much better experience.
People can RainCheck as many items as they wish if the product URL is no longer available then the items will be deleted from the list.
A unique aspect of RainCheck is the platform’s use of Stellar as the core blockchain technology.
Was it something that was decided by the team or were you impressed by the capabilities that Stellar offered compared to other blockchains?
Were there any other contenders (e.g Ethereum, NEM) or alternative technologies that you seriously thought about before deciding on Stellar?
We seriously spent a lot of time evaluating the different chains and what they offered. Over 80% of projects are based on ERC-20 (Ethereum), however, most will fail as the network has massive scaling issues, is very slow and expensive to transact on. Also the Touring Complete method of scripting smart contracts poses many risks. We needed a DLT that was solid had a great team and had features that a proper decentralized loyalty system required to be successful.
While working on the project, what’s something that you believed to be true for a long time until you found out that you were wrong, or if you don’t like the dichotomy of right versus wrong, what’s something significant that you have really changed your mind about over time?
That is an interesting question. I think that timing is everything is something that is very true. Victor Hugo once said “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come”. Over the years I have been involved in building new tech ventures ever since the late 80’s, and in many cases we were just too early in the cycle, people would love the idea however didn’t realise the problem yet. The whole Internet industry crashed in 2000 not because the ideas were bad (they were in fact fantastic), it was because there simply was not enough people on the Internet to drive the business models. We are seeing a similar phase with Blockchain right now, its 2001 again.
As the company grows, it is inevitable that the team will be catering to a community of thousands, maybe even tens of thousands, which is a challenge.
How will the team prepare for this and ensure that the community remains satisfied with the project?
People are the most expensive resource now and also the most important. It is important that the people that join this project are fans and embrace the project in an evangelist type position. With the cloud-based tools available today your people can be located anywhere and that is as much of a challenge as it is an advantage. We will keep evolving and creating experiences that will wow people and that is important.
What do you think is the biggest challenge or obstacle RAIN Token will face? How do you plan to tackle that challenge?
The biggest will be the customer transition into a crypto world, it will be slow at the beginning and then rapidly multiply. Any venture will have to be very well prepared for this and timing will be very critical. By having a solid Web 2.0 based platform that people understand and can gain a benefit from today will make it easy to transition them to the new Web 3.0 way of life. It is important to have the transition path.
What do you think is the most important aspect to focus on in increasing the adoption of the RAIN Token in the future?
A very seamless experience where all the difficult tech is obstructed by a simple user experience. People just want a nice experience with a clear benefit which is usually a financial benefit or reward.
Can you express one personal opinion of yours about the blockchain? It doesn’t matter if it’s negative or positive, we just want to hear your thoughts on it.
The Blockchain has opened up a world where the people have their own money now, not produced and distributed by government-controlled factions. Ownership and trust finally have their own protocol and that has to be a great thing.
Finally, what other personal goals (besides your career) do you have in life? Is there anything else in life you want to achieve?
Two of my favorite passions are animal well-being and ocean preservation if I was free to work on something else it would be one of those projects.
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