Loyalty cards are all well and good when customers just visit one cafe or shop at one supermarket but unfortunately most people do not live their life this way. As a result a consumer is forced to carry around multiple cards in order to gain benefits from a range of providers.
Annoying though it is, the inconvenience of a bulky purse or wallet is not the main drawback with this system. The major drawback is that card holders often cannot accumulate enough points to make it worthwhile to exchange for a decent reward. As a result points, for the most part, simply remain dormant on the card.
And this impacts businesses in turn who can accumulate significant – and permanent – liabilities on the balance sheet. And since these points are legally viewed as money that is owed to outside parties, this value can qualify as debt which stretches to millions of dollars for larger companies.
RainCheck is setting out to provide an online-to-offline (O2O) commerce platform, built on the Stellar blockchain, that enables retail brands to track and enhance the process of discovery of a product online through to an in-store purchase.
On a separate note, Raincheck ran a six month pilot last year in Australia, with 2,675 people taking part, which demonstrated further that shoppers have a tendency to prefer locating products online whilst completing the purchase in a brick and mortar store.
By marrying the two observations made above, Raincheck believes there is an untapped market that holds substantial revenue opportunities.
As a result, by integrating loyalty points and cash-back incentives into debit / credit card technology, RainCheck believe they can benefit both the consumer and merchants alike.
This is more revolutionary that it may seem at first glance as RainCheck will be able to achieve this at an inventory management level, meaning the merchant will also be able to source aggregate data from other merchants in relation to the success of the goods linked to the transaction in question.
This data is often referred to as a Stock Taking Unit (SKU) and offers value in that it enables sellers to determine exactly which products are achieving, exceeding or underperforming expectations in a given industry as opposed to within the context of the retailers’ own sales.
Using this information, it is relatively easy for companies to establish which lines are profitable and to guide future strategic business plans.
The full white-paper, as well as an additional lite-paper for those who are not inclined to wade through the technical breakdowns, can be found at the company’s website.
Uncluttered and well-written, the white-paper clearly explains the business case for the project and demystifies the relevance of blockchain and retail-insider jargon.
Based upon the Stellar protocol and attached to the AWS Cloud Environment, the RainCheck decentralised platform will enable token holders to manage and aggregate reward points across multiple loyalty schemes.
With Stellar’s ability to handle micro-payments, RainCheck can monitor, in real time, the value of rewards points available from various merchants and inform consumers of the details.
When the RAIN Tokens have been integrated, the platform will form a cohesive loyalty and rewards marketplace, with retail brands on one side and shoppers on the other.
A major benefit for consumers is that by signing up to a loyalty scheme through the Wallet App or the retailer website, users will be able to manage multiple loyalty schemes from one single platform.
The project team has opted for a Stellar-based platform since, they claim, it provides a number of unique selling points over the Ethereum blockchain.
The platform itself can be viewed as modules that interconnect and can be run in unison or individually, depending on the services required. These modules are as open as possible to ensure ease of acceptance from third party integration.
While the exact definition of each module can be found in the white-paper, it is worth briefly mentioning here the attraction of the Location/Proximity function and the Connected POS & Card-Linked Offers as they serve to exemplify the innovative idea behind the project.
The Location/Proximity Services are handled using Geo-fencing technology, where the average range is set at 150m and covers all shopping centres, shopping precincts and airports. RainCheck can also offer BLE Beacons to offer Proximity services in store, set at 1-40 meters in most cases.
Connected POS & Card-Linked Offers are what enables RainCheck to target offers at SKU level. It is challenging to match payment data with point of sale data but the information obtained is very detailed and so allows the merchant segmented marketing at actual product level.
The two co-founders, Cameron Wall (CEO) and Wei Lin (CTO) – have around half a century of work history between them in the information and communications technology sector.
This timeline obviously stretches back to the pioneering days of the internet and both of the founders have been influential in mobile, web and cloud backend and frontend development for firms such as Motorola and Westpac.
Both men have well-embedded LinkedIn profiles with extensive connections and elements, such as a slide share from one of Cameron Wall’s previous companies in 2010 – ZapMe – can easily be found online to help establish credibility.
The rest of the team come from diverse backgrounds and include specialists in full stack software development, data/cyber security, global payments, retail, travel, finance and investment.
A dozen advisors support the project including Leigh Founders who has worked at executive level for the likes of Baidu, Alipay and WeChat. Gaurav Patni, who has organised technology-focused change programmes for Walmart, Tesco and Nordstrom, is also onboard to guide and advise.
RainCheck has already integrated and partnered with a number of platform and API providers.
The Rain token is initially priced at $0.04 and 35% of the total supply of 2 billion tokens will be available during the sale. The team have set a desired target of $12 million with a minimum soft cap of $6 million and a maximum $28 million hard cap.
As a rough guide, the soft cap will be sufficient to enable RainCheck to develop the blockchain phase of the platform while any amount over this would reduce the time needed to bring the product to market and power faster expansion into global markets.
The team’s initial allocation of 5% of the tokens is subject to 12 months vesting whilst the additional 3% is subject to a 2 year lockup period, starting no earlier than the beginning of July 2019.
All of the advisors, who will account for 2% of the tokens, will be subject to a similar obligation where tokens will be frozen for 6 months from the end of the public sale and will then be released in incremements over a 24 month period.
The 25% reserved for the reward pool, plus any tokens left unsold in the public token sale, will be used as incentive to promote the use of the RainCheck App.
RainCheck state they will, if necessary, periodically buy back and burn RAIN tokens using the profit generated from the O2O shopping and overseas commerce business to maintain token velocity.
A bonus of up to 30% will be available during the pre-sale.
Although the exact details will be finalised after the pre-sale, a bonus scheme will also apply to participants during the month long public sale to be conducted sometime during Q4 in 2018.
The guidelines available for the public sale bonuses at the time this review was published are:
- Public Sale Week One: 5% to 15% bonus, dependant on volume and supply.
- Public Sale Week Two: 3% to 10% bonus, dependant on volume and supply.
- Public Sale Week Three: Up to 5% bonus, dependant on volume and supply.
- Public Sale Week Four: No bonus.
- 2014: Birth of RainCheck
- 2015: First MVP Solution – the world’s first mobile, online-to-offline (O2O) commerce platform
- 2016: Platform Pilot including patent-pending technology
- October 2016: Signs IBM as World Partner
- 2017: Platform licensing opens
- March 2018: Payment integration
- April 2018: Rain token designed
- August 2018: Token pre-sale begins
- Q4 2018: Token public sale Card-linking Pilot AU
- Q1 2019: Mobile Wallet Release Logging as a Service (LaaS) Portal Beta
- March 2019: Loyalty Ledger
- Q4 2019: SKU-Level Cash Back
- April 2020: Roll out of full Payment Gateway
The decision to use the Stellar blockchain over Ethereum is a logical one given the speed and the nature of the micro-transactions involved. Despite the obvious advantages however, launching on Stellar could cause some friction for the ICO as the majority of possible contributors from within the space will be less familiar with the steps required for the management of a Stellar wallet. An ERC-20 / Stellar air-swap – similar to the one employed by EOS and others -may have been the better approach here..
The white-paper clearly identifies the markets RainCheck will target for adoption and discusses a number of current and possible vendors and partners. It also speaks of ongoing discussion and collaboration with key players in the industry.
Whilst all of this is encouraging, there is no concrete explanation being put forward of the marketing strategy to onboard new merchants nor projections for the rate at which the project expects to achieve new partnerships.
On the other hand, RainCheck has been around for more than three years now, has an advanced product with a number of field tests already behind it, which demonstrate stronger foundations than that of the average ICO.
With a solid team in place backed by well-chosen advisors and related Apps already available in the Google Play and Apple stores, this project deserves its place at the very least on an ICO investor’s watchlist.