October 15, 2013
  • Rakuten, Inc.

Rakuten Acquires Spotlight Inc.,
Provider of “Smapo” Redeemable Points

Tokyo, October 15, 2013 – Rakuten, Inc. announced today that it has acquired Spotlight Inc., a service provider of an app for smartphones that awards app users redeemable points in exchange for visiting participating merchant stores. Spotlight will be made a wholly-owned subsidiary. The acquisition price was not disclosed.

Spotlight has provided Smapo, Japan’s first redeemable point service that automatically detects users’ visit to participant store using a smartphone app since September 2011. Smapo app users receive redeemable points simply by walking into a Smapo merchant store and tapping checking-in button on the smartphone app, regardless of purchase. Accumulated points can be redeemed for gift certificates or meal vouchers issued by participating merchants. Smapo merchant stores can decide the number of points awarded to app users, and moreover the service offers performance-based payment system, reflecting the number of users that actually visit the store, which makes the service more cost effective for driving customer traffic.

In recent years, the penetration of the smartphone has resulted in the rapid development of online-to-offline (O2O) markets for supporting the sales promotion efforts of physical stores via internet services. Amidst this backdrop, Smapo utilized its proprietary ultrasound detection platform and leading position in the market to expand the number of participating merchant stores. Today, the company has established a leading track record in Japan for driving customer traffic to physical stores. The participating merchant stores have expanded to some 90 brands covering 700 locations in 23 prefectures, with participating merchants now including mainly retail outlets such as apparel, commercial facilities, department stores, and supermarkets, among others.

Rakuten will leverage Japan’s largest online membership base retained by the Rakuten Group to strengthen Smapo’s ability to drive customer traffic and expand the number of participating merchants. In addition, Rakuten will examine a possible service that utilizes the detection platform provided to Smapo participating merchants, to drive Rakuten Group members to physical stores as part of its commitment to further strengthen the O2O business. 


Overview of the Smapo Redeemable Point Service

App name:  Smapo
Price:  Free
Available at:  App Store or Google Play
Point exchange rate:  1 point equivalent to 1 yen
How to install Smapo:  https://www.smapo.jp/redirect/
Compatible devices:  Android OS mobile phones and iPhone 3GS and newer models
*Smapo may not be available for all handsets
*iPhone and iOS are trademarks of Apple Inc.

■Advantages of Smapo
Benefits for the users
Users of Smapo, a free smartphone app, receive redeemable points simply by walking into a Smapo merchant store and tapping checking-in button on the app, regardless of purchase. Users can redeem points and receive a variety of benefits, as accumulated points can be redeemed for gift certificates or meal vouchers issued by participating merchants, or can be used to charge another point card or exchanged with various privileges. It is also one of the benefits for users that users can receive points regardless of purchase even when visiting a Smapo stores users they do not usually shop while enjoying a walk about town. Smapo has been highly regarded for its unique design of mechanism; it won the 2013 Good Design Award as the first point program to win the Award.

Benefits for the store
The dedicated Smapo device installed in the stores is very compact and can be easily set up. Participating merchants can designate areas within a store and customer attributes such as gender and age which they want to drive customer traffic with. Also, since no changes need to be made for cash register operations, store staffs do not need to be trained for implementing the service. Participating merchants do not need to pay monthly fixed cost because it is a pay-as-you-go service based on the number of actual users who checked in while at the store. They can more effectively promote customer visits compared to traditional leaflets or other advertisements where cost performance is difficult to gauge.

■Profile of Spotlight Inc.
Name:                             Spotlight Inc.
Established:                     May 2011
Business description:    Development and operation of next-generation sales promotion services for physical stores using smartphones
Office address:                 36-6 Utagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo-to
Representative:                Yo Shibata
Website:                          https://www.smapo.jp




*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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