MyClubCards – Why Do All The Great Ideas Come From Sweden?

    I ask myself pretty often why there is so much great web innovation coming from Sweden. Really awesome ideas and startups are much less common in my home country Germany, despite a population almost ten times as large as Sweden’s.

    This time, it’s a new service called MyClubCards that caught my attention. MyClubCards offers a mobile application (currently iPhone only) which people who are members of one or more loyalty programs can use to collect points when paying in a store. So imagine you have club cards from three different loyalty programs that you carry in your wallet. Instead of that, you can add those cards to your MyClubCards collection by simply entering the program name and your personal customer number. MyClubCards generates a barcode for each of those cards, which you can show to the cashier next time you want to use your card at a point of sale. Instead of scanning the physical card, the cashier scans the barcode on your phone.

    I don’t have a single club card in my wallet, but I know that I’m not typical here. I know many people who have half a dozen cards or more, and for them, MyClubCards could be the ultimate solution to remove some weight from their wallet.

    For end users the service is free, so where does the revenue comes from? Since every user of the service has shown that she is fan of the concept of loyalty programs (again, I’m not, but millions of other people are), there is a good chance that they would be willing to sign up for even more programs. With this idea in mind, the company is offering retailers the possibility to become a partner and to include their loyalty program in the MyClubCards application, ready for signup. The retailer get’s new loyal customers (and data about their shopping behaviour), and MyClubCards gets a commission.

    Even though MyClubCards will not be of any use to me personally, I’m convinced that with the right execution, this startup could become huge. I’m not sure if there is a similar service somewhere else, at least I have never heard of anything like it; but I’m pretty sure we’ll soon see some other companies experimenting with the same idea.