Loyalty and Rewards
Sionic Mobile is the maker and provider of ION, which is the first, fully digital mobile loyalty rewards, mobile marketing, gifting and payments app for phones and tablets. The company’s stand-alone platform requires no integration with point-of-sale systems and may typically be set up in less than an hour. Sionic Mobile’s free apps, ION Loyalty and ION Rewards, connect securely in the cloud for immediate and effortless checkouts. These free apps support iOS and most Android devices.
ION Loyalty for merchants increases foot traffic and high-margin sales and keeps good customers coming back more often. ION Rewards gives consumers two percent instantly every time they pay with their phone at any of more than 50,000 national retail locations. This includes high-profile merchants like Adidas, Barnes & Noble, Burger King, Game Stop, Lowe’s, Papa John’s, Regal Cinemas, Staples, The Children’s Place and The Limited, as well as local convenience stores, restaurants and community retailers.
At the core of Sionic Mobile’s business model is the understanding that it will never reinvent the wheel when it comes to merchant or consumer acquisition. But for the company to put its business model to work and reach merchants and consumers, it initially faced what Herman called “the chicken-and-egg dilemma.” Sionic Mobile needed to connect with a lot of merchants for consumers to pay with their phones, and it also needed to connect with a lot of consumers to stay top of mind with merchants and demonstrate real vs. perceived value.
“We reached a key milestone early this year, touting more than 50,000 big brand retail and restaurant locations where consumers earn IONs for paying with their phones, all via our partnership with InComm,” Herman says.
That was Sionic Mobile’s first phase: merchant acquisition. The next phase will be forming alliances with POS providers across multiple, vertical small- to medium-sized business channels like Texas-based Pinnacle in the fuel retail and c-store space.
“We hope to exceed 250,000 ION merchant locations by end of year,” Herman says. “In parallel, we’re partnering with large companies having millions of direct consumer relationships and sharing revenue in exchange for embedding our ads, gift cards, payments and rewards within their mobile apps or for cross marketing our ION Rewards app.”
Sionic Mobile says it creates value for merchants and consumers by steering clear of greedy practices exercised by others in its space. The company has realistic expectations of the value it brings through its closed-loop ecosystem and ensures all participants realize measurable value as a result.
“For merchants, that means bringing new customers in the door and back more often,” Herman says. “For consumers, it is the largest loyalty rewards marketplace and the freedom to buy anything at anytime from any ION merchant without restriction.”
Sionic Mobile has invested significantly in building a highly secure, infinitely scalable platform that protects the company, consumers, merchants and banks from stolen identities and fraudulent charges. At great expense, the company brought in a team of experts coming off contracts with the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency, who also wrote the transaction engine for the NYSE, to build its back-end system from the ground up.
“I would put our third-generation back end up against any mobile commerce platform,” Herman says.
With Apple Pay serving as a market catalyst, mobile payments are driving the trends in mobile commerce as well as extensive merger and acquisition activity. This includes Samsung’s acquisition of LoopPay, Google Wallets asset acquisition of Softcard and PayPal’s pending acquisition of Paydiant. Sionic Mobile is supporting these and other payment methods within its consumer apps to help the company achieve its transaction growth goals this year.
“We must distance ourselves from the market clutter and quickly achieve widespread adoption among merchants and consumers alike,” Herman says.
Sionic Mobile’s offerings appeal to merchants because they provide a simple, affordable and comprehensive approach to getting and keeping repeat customers. They also appeal to consumers because they are a secure, fast and fun way to get something for nothing.
“This is still a work in process, but we expect a significant increase in market awareness and adoption through our multi-channel alliances,” Herman says. “Aligning ourselves with well-recognized, trusted consumer brands will begin paying off later this year.”