Droplet, the brainchild of tech entrepreneurs Steffan Aquarone and Will Grant, has used £575,000 of Crowdfunding to take the world’s first fee free payment app into eight cities across the UK.
More than 300 independent retailers across Cambridge, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Norwich are now accepting transactions by using the simple mobile app.
“There seems be a real appetite among consumers to buy from independent retailers and support community shopping and we’re trying to tap into this with the national rollout,” explained Steffan, who came up with the idea with Will in Urban Coffee in 2011.
“What originally started as a way of making payments over your phone has evolved a fair bit and we have coincided the national launch with the introduction of Droplet Rewards, which is basically a loyalty platform for local merchants.
“This means they can provide digital stamps to their customers in return for special offers and free treats like a cup of coffee or glass of wine. They can also message the local Droplet community via the app.”
He continued: “In essence, we are offering a rewards scheme that can match a lot of the big chains for a fraction of the cost. Smaller retailers are really embracing it, with 100 signed up in the first month.”
The first eight cities have been chosen due to their vibrant independent scenes and their willingness to embrace new idea.
Local ambassadors, who are well known in the community, have been appointed in each location to work with merchants to introduce the technology and grow the Droplet brand organically.
With user numbers now over 23,000, there are plans already in place to build on the initial rollout by targeting another ten cities in 2016.
“Birmingham is still a critically important city for us,” pointed out Will.
“This is where the Droplet story all began and we have just strengthened our team here to include new ambassador Laura Patricia Jones. She will be charged with building on our existing merchant base of 35 retailers and growing our user numbers in the City.”
Steff continued: “Birmingham was the ideal place to first test and rollout our app. It’s a place that welcomes disruptive technology and both businesses and consumers are early adopters…this gives new ideas a great chance to flourish and we have certainly benefitted from it.
“With the opening of Grand Central putting the City firmly on the map, I can’t think of a better time to push our Rewards platform and capitalise on the massive increase in footfall that is expected.”
Using Droplet is simple for the consumer, just tap ‘pay here’ when entering a registered outlet for the first time and the payment is taken directly from your chosen card – you’ll get a notification on your phone to show how much you’ve been charged and the reward stamps you’ve earned.
Over time customers will be able to remove queuing from their visits, with ZeroTouch® technology allowing the retailer to know what you want when you check in, serve you your drinks/products and then take payment automatically
Simon Jenner, founder of Urban Coffee Company and the first ever Droplet retailer, concluded:
“We’ve seen lots of new payment technologies come along like contactless and Apple Pay, but these don’t do anything to help businesses communicate with people.
“Since we moved over to Droplet Rewards there’s been a definite increase in spending on the app from our customers – especially as they don’t have to remember to bring their loyalty cards with them any more.”