A while ago we where wondering why there are so many different loyalty cards which we have to carry in our wallets to be able to identify ourselves in different loyalty programs. When we started to look into it, it turned out that it's quite complicated to provide ultimate service which can be integrated with many different POS systems and it's quite hard to persuade the merchants that there will be 1 unique card which will identify all the customers and they have to integrate in 1 common system. We understood that if we would try to integrate will all the existing POS systems it would be almost impossible and it would take a lot of time to do that. So we had to come up with solution that does fix this main '1 card' problem and does it simple and universal way so that most of the merchant could implement that quick, simple and with affordable cost. We had to hack the POS systems externally :)
What it does
This Plug&Play extension kit solution adds additional functionality to existing the POS systems by just plugging it into the POS and doing few minor configurations in Fidebox web based administration panel.
- It does allow to accept any NFC tag as a loyalty card right away. Customers can use any in their wallet existing contactless (NFC) card to register & identify themselves (or get custom ordered merchant's NFC tag/card if they haven't got any in their wallet). It does ease customer onboarding process in loyalty program and does easy the everyday identification.
- It does help for merchant to be able to set up a rules for dynamic loyalty programs (For example, give X% discount to specific happy hours to my customers, give x% discount to customers who have visited at least y times, every 10th time when you visit store you get additional x% discount) These rules can be setup outside the POS system so there is no need for POS upgrade and/or programming. These kind of programs can additionaly motivate customers to visit merchant more frequently and increase loyalty as customers who do visit more offten get more discounts.
How we built it
We had a short interview with each of the team members and we have an answers: Guntis: "We spent more than 8h to disscuss all the functionality needed to be able to plug-in and configure this solution without any programming, be able to connect it to the most of the POS systems and to come up with the right name for it. Fidebox is made from 'Fide' - which means 'loyalty/ trust' in Latin + box because it's physyical box which does the magic. We used Raspberry Pi as a controller which does connect and communicate with POS system, it does read the NFC tags, using ACR122 NFC reader and communicates with Fidebox online service. Then there is a Administration panel built on AngularJS & bootstrap and many others things. Last but nost least we are using Walmoo API which is customer loyalty & identification platform and does provide many functionalities and logic that we needed to be able to build Fidebox solution so quickly and legit." Oskars: "With dedication and a lot of arguing." Karina: "No comments" Kristaps: "We took existing hardware, empowered with our custom software solution to make it all work!" Kriss: "We just did it!"
Challenges we ran into
Guntis: Coming up with the title, one sentence description and product pitch. Oskars: "Make it on time to the ferry." Karina: "No comments" Kristaps: "Deciding on which energy drink to drink first." Kriss: "Integration with realy cool 21st century api - walmoo"
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Guntis: "Built great concept around the initial idea. Built nice & shiny Wordpress landing page + already got 10 Likes for our Facebook page. Overall progress, tempo & team work" Oskars: "All our team were able to squeeze into our little car." Karina: "No comments" Kristaps: " Ironing out what the product is, and who is it for." Kriss: "I built a realy cool Raspberry PI reactiveX python app"
What we learned
Guntis: "Less is more" Oskars: " Sleep is for the weak" Karina: "No comments" Kristaps: "Powernaps and energy drinks actually do mix" Kriss: "That I can work 20h a day. Mildronat + EnergyDrink = winning combination"
What's next for Fidebox
Guntis: "The Moon" Oskars: "Silicon valley." Karina: "No comments" Kristaps: "Case design." Kriss: "Fame & glory"