Smoothie maker Jamba Juice Co. built its menu around variety and customer choice. Its approach to mobile payments is no different.
Instead of choosing just one mobile-payments technology, Jamba Juice has tested separate systems from PayPal and the telco-backed venture Isis. It sampled both systems to determine which (if any) is the best fit for its business.
Through Isis, Jamba Juice has seen a higher redemption rate on two offers — $2 off a smoothie and a buy-one-get-one deal — since initiating them through the mobile wallet app, says Robert Notte, chief technology officer for Jamba Juice.
"When we looked at Isis, we found it to be a solid strategic fit because it had integration with a diverse ecosystem," Notte said April 16 at the annual Ramp Mobile Retail Services conference in Chicago.
Jamba Juice went on a "two-year digital wallet journey" in trying to determine the best mobile payment technology to establish for its smoothie business, which generates 100 million visits at 750 Jamba stores nationwide, Notte says.
"We wanted a digital wallet that would be a good fit with our brand of a healthy, active lifestyle," Notte says. "We viewed Isis as doing that, and a mobile wallet as a great opportunity to elevate the Jamba experience, while targeting customers who were tech savvy."
Jamba Juice's work with PayPal has shown benefits of its own, eBay Inc. CEO John Donahoe said on a conference call in January. "Our focus on the consumer adoption side is solving real consumer pain points," such as allowing users to order and pay ahead from their phones rather than wait in line, he said.
Isis, a joint venture of AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA, launched last October with a mobile wallet that uses Near Field Communication technology to make contactless payments from smartphones. PayPal, by contrast, uses a software-based system to initiate payments in retail stores.
Jamba Juice wanted efficiency at the point of sale, as well as the ability to send promotional messages and offers to the consumer's mobile wallet, Notte says. It also wanted a system that obtains shopper data and provides a way to communicate with those customers, Notte says.
The company considered its own closed-loop wallet, but eventually decided to "take a step back and find a technology that fit," he says.
Jamba Juice's vision is to become a leader in the quick-serve restaurant space with progressive technology, Notte says. The NFC technology that drives Isis payments fits well with Jamba's desire to provide coupons and offers to its customers, he adds.
The company is not finished trying new technology. Jamba Juice expects to do more work with technology providers in the future, Notte says.
During its testing with Isis, Notte says Jamba Juice learned that mobile commerce has to have strong support and training throughout the company.
"It's not complicated, but it takes constant training," Notte says. "If a customer is stuck trying to complete an Isis transaction, you have to provide immediate help."
Isis first mentioned Jamba Juice as a retailer accepting its mobile wallet i n May 2012, when the joint venture began aggressively adding merchants.