Service offered by new start-up company will boost marketing efforts for retailers
22 August 2011, Singapore – Good news for all shoppers! Great promotions are now available from retail outlets all year round, extending beyond the Great Singapore Sale. A new technology start-up company, Gozo Labs, has launched a location-based mobile marketing solution. Called around! (www.around.com.sg), this is a free-to-download iPhone application that offers shopping discounts in Singapore. Set up two NUS Overseas College alumni, Gozo Labs is being incubated by NUS Enterprise.
When users open the around! application, it detects where they are and provides a list of exclusive promotions available within the vicinity. Users who wish to access a promotion simply show the retail partner the Quick Response (QR) matrix bar code on their mobile phone, and will receive the discount. Gozo Labs has launched around! at several locations in Singapore, including Robertson Quay, Marina Square and Chinatown. Gozo Labs has currently tied up with 18 retail partners, which are mainly in the food and beverage sector. These retailers are offering discounts of up to 30% and involve well-known brands, such as Spinelli, Subway and Fairmont Singapore. Next month, Gozo Labs plan to partner with retailers in the fashion industry, including G2000 and FOX. Moving forward, Gozo Labs will partner with more retailers island-wide, and include other retail sectors. Around! will also be available on other mobile platforms. See Annex 1 for a list of the 18 retail partners.
Around! is a new marketing platform, with numerous advantages to both users and retail partners. The advantages of around! to users include:
1) The ability to see what promotions are available from their favourite brands located nearby, in a quick and intuitive manner;
2) Payment is made on the spot directly to the retailer, after showing the QR code. This means no wasted pre-bought vouchers. It also means no situations where a user is “tricked” into buying promotions with terms and conditions that result in higher prices.
3) User-friendly, fuss free, with no need for printed vouchers
The advantages of around! to retail partners include:
1) The creation of real-time promotions to convert passer-bys into paying customers. As these customers are within the vicinity, there is a high chance that they will become loyal customers;
2) Payment from the customers is made directly to the retail outlet, and not via Gozo Labs, easing the cash flow issue and reducing fulfilment order problems. This also creates a direct bond between retailer and the customer;
3) No dilution or “cheapening” of the brand;
4) A new marketing platform, reaching out to a different set of potential customers.
“Gozo means joy in Spanish, and we set up Gozo Labs with the intent of bringing joy to others, both users and our retail partners. Although we launched the beta version of around! several weeks ago, we already have several hundreds of users on board. We will be aggressively pushing out our product and marketing strategy for around! and our target is to hit 10,000 users by end of 2011, with about 50 retail partners, and to keep growing exponentially,” said Xu Daxiang, who runs the product and business development aspects of Gozo Labs.
“At Fairmont Singapore, we are always looking to pioneer new technology solutions, to market our products and services. We already use websites, microsites, social media and electronic customer relationship management strategies. Fairmont Singapore, Szechuan Court is collaborating with around! to offer a discount of 15% for Fairmont’s Mid Autumn Festival Mooncakes, in order to harness the power of mobile applications. This year, we present a limited, collectible edition and fuschia pink cheongsam-inspired mooncake box, dressed in vivacious shades of fuschia pink and luminous green, alongside two other traditional mooncake boxes. We hope that through around!, we will be able to excite and convert smartphone users in the vicinity of our nine retail outlets into loyal customers,” said Nicholas Tay, Marketing Manager, Digital, Fairmont Singapore & Swissôtel The Stamford.
In addition to rolling out exclusive promotions, around! can be used as a customer loyalty programme. When both retail partner and user opt into the customer loyalty programme, the retail partner’s loyalty card is created, powered by around! on the user’s iPhone. Every time they purchase an item at the retail partner, they automatically receive a stamp. Retail partners can reward loyal customers with additional promotions after a certain number of stamps have been collected. By hosting the loyalty cards on a user’s smartphone, it reduces the need to carry additional cards, making it a cost-effective, user-oriented and environmentally-friendly option. Currently Sprout, Red House and Music Dreamer Live Cafe have joined around’s customer loyalty programme.
“After using around! for the past two weeks, I’ve found it to be an ideal, hassle-free application. I can access deals based on when and where I am, compared to other discount platforms that provide deals with no relevance to my current location. I was delighted when I found that my favourite café, Sprout, which is near my work place, was offering daily discounts, as well as loyalty rewards. So far, I’ve benefited from 8 discounts, along with one freebie, due to the loyalty programme. I look forward to more businesses coming on board!” said Christer Eriksson, the Regional Strategy Director for The Upper Storey, a creative advertising agency.
Gozo Labs is founded by Xu Daxiang and Quek Shu Yang, who met while on the NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) programme, an NUS initiative that aims to cultivate entrepreneurs. After graduating from NUS, with a degree in Business and Computer Engineering respectively, Daxiang and Shu Yang entered the workforce. Daxiang joined Yahoo’s sales department and Shu Yang joined the Centre for Strategic IT as a software engineer. Daxiang now manages business and sales for Gozo Labs, while Shu Yang is in charge of the development of around! To date, the duo has raised over S$100,000 in funding, inclusive of their savings, a grant from MDA iJAM and funding support from NUS Venture Support.
Gozo Labs is currently being incubated by NUS Enterprise. The company can leverage upon assistance such as mentorship, business resources, access to networking events and entrepreneurial activities, as well as infrastructure support. Gozo Labs currently consists of 5 staff, and are based at the Prince George’s Park incubator.
“During the NOC programme, we knew we wanted to work on ideas that can have a positive impact on peoples’ lives, that solve real problems and pain points which people are facing using science and technology. We needed a couple of years of industry experience first, to boost our work experience, as well as to make savings, to see us through Gozo Labs’ start-up phase. Being an innovative, technology start-up, we have plans to launch new features to improve around! later this year. This includes showing promotions most relevant to our individual users based on their user behaviors,” said Shu Yang, who is the technology architect of Gozo Labs.
About Gozo Labs
Launched in 2011, Gozo Labs is a technology start-up company, with a flagship product called around! This is a location-based mobile marketing solution and loyalty platform. Gozo Labs is set up by Xu Daxiang and Quek Shu Yang, two graduates from the NUS Overseas Colleges Programme. The company is currently being incubated by NUS Enterprise.
About NUS Enterprise
NUS Enterprise was established as a University-level cluster to provide an enterprise dimension to NUS teaching and research involving the University’s students, staff and alumni. The functions of the Enterprise Cluster complement the academic cluster of the University to nurture talents with an entrepreneurial and global mindset. NUS Enterprise promotes the spirit of innovation and enterprise through Experiential Education, Industry Engagement & Partnerships and Entrepreneurship Support. www.nus.edu.sg/enterprise
Gozo Labs retail partners (as of 22 August 2011)
1) BubbleOrange – at Clementi CityVibe
2) Chong Qing Grilled Fish – at Chinatown and Liang Seah Street
3) Club 5 – at Park Royal Hotel
4) dreiHeit House – at Chevron House
5) Fairmont Singapore, Szechuan Court – at Raffles City, Chevron House, Novena Square, Velocity, ION Orchard Booth Raffles City Atrium, Bugis Junction, Junction 8, Parkway Parade, and Suntec City Atrium
6) Gum Gong Wan Korean Fusion Restaurant – Temple Street Chinatown
7) Kettle Pot Café – at Tanjong Pagar Chartis Building
8) Music Dreamer Live! Café – at Marina Square
9) Plaza Brasserie – at Park Royal Hotel
10) RamenTen – at Far East Plaza
11) Red House – at Robertson Quay
12) Sakunthala’s – at Race Course Road
13) Settlers Café – at North Canal Road
14) ShinTokyo – at Clementi CityVibe
15) Sprout – at Robertson Walk
16) Spinelli – at Forum The Shopping Mall, Suntec City and Heeren Orchard Central
17) Subway – at PoMo Centre and SMUY
18) Wavehouse – at Sentosa