EnQii's Passport enters crowded mobile retail app field

March 14, 2011 by Dave Haynes

EnQii sent a newsletter/release out late afternoon about its launch of a new mobile phone app called  EnGage Passport – a white-labeled application that allows retailers who are using EnQii’s DS platform (or not) to to make targeted savings offers to shoppers when they enter a store.

Users download the EnGage Passport app and are prompted to check in through a digital sign as they enter the store.

When they check in, the retailer knows who they are and where they are. The retailer can send targeted offers to their phone or even change the message on the digital screen to tailor it to the customer’s profile. The customer can use the Mobile App to look at what is available in the store and even post messages and images to Facebook to interact with their friends.

EnGage Passport is a suite of Web Services that provide services to support a product catalog, product details, and couponing.

The EnGage Passport white labeled App, which is available for rebranding and enhancement, is currently available on Android and will shortly be built for the iPhone. This App provides the following capabilities: store locator, a hierarchical product catalog, and a “wallet” for coupons. This wallet capability is used to store coupons that are captured from QR Codes displayed on Digital Signs or in print media. The wallet can be integrated with a loyalty program to provide a single integrated mobile/web/store customer experience. Once stored, coupons can be recalled for display at point-of-purchase or integrated with a store’s Enterprise systems to provide additional redemption options.

EnGage Passport’s coupon capabilities can also be used to implement programs in the absence of a customized Passport Mobile App directing customers who scan QR codes to a configurable URL. This URL can be used to implement a signup scheme, or to provide alternatives to the Mobile App coupon storage.

Interesting. EnQii joins a still small list of companies in the digital signage software space that have developed anything for other platforms. I am probably wrong, but the apps that otherwise come to mind for digital signage have either been a mobile version of the content management application, or been POS-based (like Starmount Systems), with only the most tenuous tie to digital signage.

There will be some first-mover marketing advantage to this, and it certainly gives the EnQii sales people something very new and different from what the rest of the big crowd is pitching at retailers. I don’t know anywhere near enough about mobile apps to say this technical approach is spot-on, or miles off.

But here’s what I do know. If I was down in Austin at the SXSW conferences this week, I could walk into pretty much any hotel lobby and yell, “Everybody in here who has a mobile app for retail, raise your hands!”

And then watch a sea of hands rise.

How a software company that already has core applications to support, and now has a mobile app of its own to evolve, competes with pure-play location-based mobile app developers, I don’t know. There are a LOT of them and some of their stuff is very, very slick.

I just watched a FourSquare thing being demo’d around Austin during SXSW that was directly integrated with American Express and a $5 discount on purchases at participating locations was going to show up on cardholder statements as credits.

So … kudos for the effort at EnQii (an old haunt and the developer office is in walking distance of my world HQ). But I can’t help but wonder if the wiser move is to ensure your DS platform can integrate with the pure-play guys, and work with whoever emerges as the market leader.

I suppose it could be argued that leader might be EnQii, but there are people in that space going at this with deep R&D pockets and a total focus. That’s a tough race to win when your own stuff is just part of what you do. And it’s clear the same way that digital signage companies are banging on retailer doors, so are the mobile apps people.


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  2. Steve Gurley says:

    Good for them for giving it a try. I look forward to a year from now when they’re ready to discuss the lessons learned.

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