Just this month I wrote an article for Advertising Age where I talked a bit about point cards, technology, and how Japan is still a leader that needs to be paid attention to in this space. There’s a lot of great stuff going on here.
In particular, I mentioned Japan’s largest loyalty program T-Point which belongs to the media and retail giant Tsutaya. With 46,000 supporting retailers and over 35 million members who are also highly connected, there’s a lot of potential to do great things. Near our office in Shibuya we’ve been seeing more and more vending machines from beverage maker Kirin that are also hooked up with the T-Point program. Swipe your card, buy a drink, and earn points which can be redeemed for all kinds of things.
Japan is already the king of loyalty programs, and this type of vending program was even around when Coca-Cola created CMode nearly a decade ago. Dydo also has a similar system, but the downside is that the points are confined to their vending machines, while TPoints can be used all over Japan across categories. Still, with NFC and ease of connectivity, don’t be surprised if you’re earning points on your parking meters or other machines quite soon.