Jurong Point, one of Singapore’s largest suburban malls, will soon integrate Apple’s Passbook technology into its retail app. This means that iOS6 users with the app will be able to claim an offer without needing to download anything else. Passbook comes included with iOS6 and iPhone 5.
The mall app’s new feature is slated to be available by end-November. The creator, Accumbens Networks, claims it will be the first retail app in Singapore to integrate with Passbook. Besides facilitating offers and promotions, it will also be used with the My Jurong Point app to collect data on consumers and their purchasing habits. These insights will be shared with merchants. Read more
Imagine reading a restaurant review on HungryGoWhere, then booking a table on Reserveit.sg. Once the reservation is done, you get a notification on Perx saying that you’ve received a chop, which allows you to redeem a dessert.
It’s a foodie’s dream come true, and we might not need to wait too long for it to happen.
The foundation is already set. We’ve learnt today that SingTel-owned HungryGoWhere, Singapore’s leading food portal, has partnered with mobile loyalty startup Perx (which has over 700 locations and 400,000 chops so far) and restaurant reservation service Reserveit.sg to integrate their services into the site. Read more
San Francisco-headquarterd restaurant review site Yelp went public in March and has been expanding aggressively into new markets ever since. This time, Yelp officially launches in Singapore (its Asian debut) and the occasion was commemorated by the hanging of the nation’s flag in the San Francisco office, and its national anthem sung – all these with the virtual participation of its new, small Singapore team and other Yelp employees across the world on Skype:
In Singapore, Yelp is against the local food review giant, Hungrygowhere. Hungrygowhere was a startup that was acquired by Asian telecommunications firm, SingTel, back in April for USD 9.4M and is now run by the telco’s lifestyle portal, inSing.
The Singapore Yelp site already counts many reviews, with almost 2000 restaurants being reviewed. The Yelp iOS app has been available in the Singapore iTunes app store for about a year. You can download Yelp for your mobile across the various platforms.
If you’re a restaurant, bar or are a related business, you can claim your page for free and build your company’s profile on Yelp. This might prove to be a big revenue driver later down the line for the Singapore outfit if the local market follows the path that Yelp has seen so far in general and when Yelp Singapore allows local advertising: last year, Yelp made 78% of its revenue from local advertising.
Queuing is agonizing. According to a New York Times article, supermarkets earn about USD 5.5 billion annually from impulse buys, caused in large part by the need of shoppers to relieve the agony of waiting in line. Racks of candy and magazines are placed right in front of the cashiers to milk every last dime out of you.
All in all, Americans spend about 37 billion hours each year queuing — and the same problem is definitely occurring in Asia. That’s a lot of wasted time.
Now, there’s a new Singapore startup called Hastify that hopes to eliminate the need to wait in line, at least when it comes to food takeouts. Its website is a food ordering service that lets you order items from a variety of restaurants and then collect them on-location.
I can imagine Hastify being useful at peak hour lunches on weekdays. Jostling with sweaty corporate types at overcrowded restaurants is an extremely unpleasant experience, and the prospect of being able to avoid all that holds much appeal. Read more
Online restaurant reservation site Abratable has the unfortunate distinction of starting almost a year after its competitors Chope and Reserveit.sg. SingTel, which recently acquired restaurant portal HungryGoWhere, has also ventured into this space.
This means that Abratable, which is based in Singapore, will have to pull all stops and differentiate itself sufficiently from its competitors, catering to a different clientele. It has gone about it in a very interesting way. Read more
Singapore-based mobile loyalty app Squiryl has partnered with restaurant chains Sakae Sushi and Cafe Cartel to distribute ‘acorns’, their version of loyalty stamps, through POS systems.
The program began on the first week of July, and as of 25th the same month, about 10,359 acorns have been issued to 1,555 new and existing Squiryl users. Seven outlets from Cafe Cartel and 32 from Sakae Sushi were involved.
According to Squiryl co-founder Mulyadi Syariffudin, developing a POS solution was crucial for getting big restaurant chains on board since it reduces fraud and increases convenience. Read more
Optus, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SingTel, announced in a statement today that it has acquired Australian food review site Eatability for A$6M (US$6.2M).
Eatability was launched in 2003 by Celeste and Hui Ong. It is one of Australia’s leading restaurant review sites, containing more than 235,000 reviews and 37,000 restaurant listings. Read more
Chope, a web and mobile restaurant reservation service, has announced in a press release that it has seated one million diners since its launch in June 2011. A quarter of its online reservations come in between 10pm and 10am.
In other recent moves, the startup has expanded into Hong Kong with the launch of Chope.com.hk, and partnered with Samsung to preload its app into all Galaxy SIII phones in Singapore. The Galaxy SIII, which is Samsung’s flagship phone, has become a hot-seller of late, generating 10 million units in sales worldwide. The app is also available on iOS. Read more
Updated: 8th July, 12pm UTC+8
A celebrity couple, who runs food business Twelve Cupcakes, recently put up articles written about their business on Facebook, Twitter and the company’s website. However, Singapore Press Holdings, a media conglomerate in Singapore, soon demanded payment because they reproduced its articles online.
Daniel Ong, a former radio deejay, wrote a long Facebook note last night to complain about SPH’s actions. He then wrote a follow-up letter expounding on the incident. He said that the payment would add up to “almost S$3,000″ (US$2,360), a claim which SPH later denied.
SPH responded to Daniel in yesterday’s edition of The Straits Times. It reiterated the fact that under copyright law, interviewees and information providers don’t control the distribution rights to a piece of work. Authors do.
But while it said that displaying content on websites is against the law, framing actual articles up and displaying them at physical stores does not constitute copyright infringement.
In Daniel’s first note, he said that his wife, former beauty queen Jaime Teo, received an email from SPH demanding a payment of S$535 (US$422) per story. They were interviewed by the Straits Times, The New Paper, and a couple of magazines. Both newspapers belong to SPH.
He then added that when they took down the stories as a compromise, the couple was asked to pay a S$214 (US$169) “investigation fee”. If they don’t pay, they would still be “liable for infringement” for the next six years.
Taiwan startup Citydomo is putting an interesting twist to online reviews by adding a gamified layer.
Instead of simply creating a website and praying that users will flock to it to rant or rave about something, they’re incentivizing them with goodies like Jason Mraz concert tickets, spa treatment vouchers, and discounts at wedding service providers — all redeemable with Domo Dollars, which is the service’s virtual currency.
Citydomo isn’t restricted to food, and users can leave reviews for other kinds of establishments like spas, hotels, and retail stores. As such, it’s more similar to Yelp and less like Singapore’s HungryGoWhere. But unlike these two, a user will get 10 D$ for writing a review, and an additional 2 D$ for posting a photo of the establishment. Read more