Hong Kong operator SmarTone will offer payments and a wallet to shoppers as part of a new marketing platform called Kiss, which is targeted at Hong Kong’s retailers.
The new platform is designed to appeal to both consumers and retailers, offering data about one to the other. It is also open to subscribers of other operators, and not just to SmartTone’s subscribers.
It is available as both iOS and Android apps. Users can add UnionPay International-backed cards to the wallet.
The operator is eager to position Kiss as a marketing platform that will “redefine the rules of retail”, rather than a straightforward payment service.
Its announcement includes a table of ‘What Kiss is’ and ‘What Kiss is Not’. The former includes the following terms: “A mobile online marketing platform”; “For all Hong Kong consumers”; “Available on iOS and Android”; “Credit card payment – ALL banks’ Unionpay credit cards” and “Simply download and use”.
The latter category (‘What Kiss is Not’) includes “Mobile payment”, “Limited to specific operator”; “For Android only”; “Limited to specific banks” and “”Need to change to specific SIM card”.
The description about the SIM card seems to indicate that Kiss is not NFC-based but confusingly the announcement also says “Kiss Pay enables customers to pay, redeem and be rewarded for their purchases with just one tap,” which sounds like NFC. And the company confirmed to Mobile World Live that it will indeed use NFC, along with less mainstream ultrasound technology, for point-of-sale purchases.
SmarTone, which is the fourth largest operator in Hong Kong, previously launched an NFC-based payment service. The market has seen a number of payments announcements, including that from leading operator HKT a fortnight ago.
SmarTone said it will launch in Hong Kong and Macau “shortly”, once it has signed up a significant base of retailers to the platform.
The operator is happier to emphasise that the platform lets retailers create mobile online shopfronts and how it will motivate consumers to use them (so retailers can gather useful data about consumers, as well as make sales). The platform also offers a Bluetooth-based Beacons feature, whereby proximity messaging is sent to consumers.
To persuade users to share data, Kiss Dollar is a digital coupon that gives cash off with every purchase at a Kiss retailer. And Retailer Cash Credit is a digital voucher that rewards consumers for spending with a particular retailer.