Networked coffee mugs provide an update to the old 10th-cup-free punch-card customer loyalty program. Our highly modular system allows any coffee shop to use one of our mug readers, link it to their name and physical location, and get started immediately with the program. Shops will sell RFID-enabled stickers at a low cost to customers who provide their own reusable coffee mug. Once the sticker is applied to a mug, that mug can be scanned at any participating coffee shop's reader to log refills anywhere the customer goes.
The BetaCup (we liked the name, so we went with it!) reader - the in-store device that reads each mug's sticker - provides haptic feedback in the form of a light thud to let the customer know that the mug was indeed scanned. The customer will feel the vibration through the cup. It also provides visual feedback with low powered LED lights when a 10-cup milestone is reached, so that baristas and servers will know when to issue a free refill. Each scan is followed by an appropriate timeout so customers will be unable to take advantage of the system. Optionally, businesses can use our API, or new services that are created with our API, to create real-time displays to show BetaCup usage at their shop.
We want to promote drinking lots of coffee, because every refilled mug is one paper cup saved. We also want customers to venture out and try new coffee. When a customer visits his or her 10th unique coffee shop, a bonus refill is earned for being adventurous.
BetaCup participants shouldn't feel the need to participate in the program beyond simply saving cups (they're already doing plenty!). However, for the Web 2.0, social media crowd, we have a complete online world ready for them. Users can register their sticker's unique ID on our website and link it to their favorite social networks. We'll post to your wall, tweet, or check you in if you want us to. You can share your dynamic avatar which changes based on your coffee drinking habits. For example at your 10th unique visit you'll be an adventurer, you'll wear beret in France, and should you drink 8 cups of coffee a day your avatar will be jittery with bloodshot eyes.
Since our program is really just an updated 10th-cup-free system, we want it to feel familar yet also offer something new to coffee shops. Shops should feel free to offer their own deals. We'd like to see chalkboards in shop windows offering a free pastry with every 10th cup, free drink upgrades (i.e. get a latte instead of drip), etc. No extra steps are necessary for the barista, making it an easy implementation for coffee shops.
This program should go viral in the virtual *and* physical worlds. When people see their friends saving money and the world on Facebook, they will want a BetaCup. When people walking down the street see someone with our super cute sticker on their mug, they will want one too.
Data and analytics can be managed on the back-end by participating coffee shops interested in tracking ROI. A tool like Tetherball’s Mobiquitous captures data from RFID scans made at point of sale and provides real-time web-based reporting. FourSquare’s business analytics tool also provides real-time data on check-ins – a BetaCup dashboard could be developed through a partnership with FourSquare. We want businesses to be able to track and visualize their BetaCup data and will work with any third-party service that is closely aligned with our mission.