I am currently in the works developing an app for my business model and am currently in the very early stages of development. Although actual development has not yet commenced, we have the foundations laid out and generally have a better understanding of the app itself
There will be 2 questions here the first in relation to the title
So in a nutshell the app i am developing is a coupon app designed to serve smaller businesses( restaurants in particular) but the hurdle we have encountered is at the end of the flow chart. Because different restaurants use different POS systems, how will our coupons be integrated into their systems? when a customer goes to redeem coupon, can restaurants customise their POS systems to receive 3rd party coupons?
The redeeming process is still abit tricky for me
Here are some solutions i have received
- Physically looking at the coupons
- having a barcode to the coupons
- Numbering the coupons
These solutions provided only serve to solve part of the problem and not as a whole
So i would really love to hear your solutions to this problem
My second question is more of a recommendation
Since the app itself will have two portals. Is it better to develop web portal for use by restaurants or to stick with app?
I have heard it might be more professional to have web based portal for business
What you are building is effectively a platform. The big issue with that is can you get enough users/interest to power the platform and to power other platforms to integrate with yours. - Usually these things take heaps of cash.
In your example of coupons you more than likely would want the retail outlets to be able to verify that a coupon is valid? That is normally how it is done. Thus you would need an API (application program interface) Other POS providers would be able to use your API to redeem your coupons via there system. Or for example you could integrate your API with there's. Quite a few POS providers have open API's so you would need to identify and integrate your coupon system with there systems. Initially you would want to identify if integrating your system with POS providers was required to get momentum with users. As there are many POS providers and every solution would need to be integrated. Coupons effectively are discount codes - So initially you could just give simple instructions to your retail outlets on how to set-up discount codes on there POS systems that can be called up to reproduce the discount the coupon offers - Assuming the coupons are standard discounts. You may also need some sort of platform interface where a retail outlet can verify a coupon or mark it as redeemed. This would entail your platform having an app, or web interface where by they can log in - enter a coupon code, or scan a QR code to verify it. Bare in mind this would add another layer/process to a sale which vendors would be against, as POS needs to be fast.
In regards to whether you build an APP or web portal - that would be down to what the portal does, who the users are and how it all works.
In reality you may be tackling this the wrong way. Right now your worrying about technology apps, api's and how you can make your fabulous coupon business work.
Really what you need to do is go pitch this idea to 10 stores or restaurants - tell them why they need to redeem your coupons and how this can bring them more business - I am assuming this benefits the vendor, right?
If your idea is a winner they will want to start redeeming coupons. For the moment this can be done manually, perhaps you build a dead simple web interface, then once you get to this point those vendors will start telling you how they want it made easier, and what POS they are using - You would then look to integrate your system with that POS - then you can pitch your solution to all likewise vendors with that POS.
If on the other hand this coupon only benefits the customer - Your vendors are not going to give you that head-start - and as such unless you have stacks of cash i think you will struggle getting vendors to use it.
How do restaurants handle their newspaper coupons now?
There are literally over 630 different POS systems for restaurants. Being an expert in this industry, I would first challenge your assumption that restaurants have any interest in any new coupons of any kind.
If you understand the economics of restaurants, you will know that typical places have a net profit of about 6%. Discounting anything is difficult and strategic to do effectively. Most restaurateurs aren't savvy enough to calculate the greater effect of couponing, and historically have been burned by coupon services because of the bad economics. And when they only focus on coupons to drive business, they may attract the worst kinds of customers instead of investing in things that deepen relationships with repeat customers.
It should certainly not be an app. Restaurants can't deal with quirky systems. I'd estimate half of restaurants, if they're using POS systems that have APIs (and most probably don't) don't know how to program or customize much of anything in their system. And to get an integrator to update their system with your add-on is going to be another expense with little support.
I am sorry to frown on your idea, but I want to stop you from doing something that has very little likelihood of ever attracting the kinds of restaurants you would hope to participate. Those with savvy have their own systems. Those without savvy are not the best customers for you.
The need in restaurants doesn't match your solution very well. My sincere hope is that you will talk to more of the kinds of restaurateurs who you hope to have as customers, not about coupons, but about what they really need in technology. Even better if you can find something that big franchises need in technology.
Sure there are over 300,000 restaurants out there. But your product is addressing a consumer desire, not a business need. Consumers are not who you're collecting money from, so you need to focus on things that the restaurants care about, not what consumers care about.
@Clay, these days I'd ask what's a newspaper? hahah
Actually paper couponing is very, very simple whether or not the store is using a POS. Other than validating its authenticity, there's either a coupon button, a customized coupon offer programmed, or the calculator is employed. Paper coupons go in the drawer, usually stapled to a copy of the bill, but that's only to audit the use not being faked.
Thank you for taking the time to reply to my question and really value your honest feedback
Yes i do understand the margins are very thin when it comes to restaurants or food industry in general. when coming up with the business model,my main focus was not initially on the customer as the system of couponing has been around for years now, the challenge with them is mainly getting them to use the platform
However in my business model i did do some research on the cons of couponing to the business side have made it to the best of my ability to actually address those cons in the business model itself, I would love to connect and actually discuss the way i am planning on approaching your concerns in regards to getting restaurants particularly interested in partnering with us
Thank you for your second answer, I have suspected that web portal is best I was just not too sure
Thank you sir for taking the time and answering the question, I actually showed you solution to the developer and said it was a really great solution. we are currently working on it.
Yes the app will benefit both vendor and consumer
I agree about what you said in regards to pitching the idea to restaurants and that is indeed part of my plan. I just want to get something off the ground first so that they may physically see it while im presenting to them and not just speaking of an idea.
I believe in my business model i did address the cons of couponing to the vendor in general and so i believe that the solutions i have come with will in fact be attractive to the vendor but also i am always willing to fine tune the model itself if needs be
If you ever have the time Mr. Martin i would love to show you my business model and how exactly it might differ from the traditional online couponing service
@Roman, I'm an advisor on CFL, you can connect with me through my profile.