Beam Wallet is one of the most exciting mobile commerce developments in the UAE at the moment. While the app was launched in 2012, last year it saw a significant investment from Majid Al Futtaim Ventures followed by a massive promotions campaign, especially in VOX Cinemas and Carrefour supermarkets and partnerships with international chains such as Costa Coffee, that has now led to over 350,000 consumers using the app on their smartphones.
I have to say at the outset, I’m a very non-techy person and shy away from downloading apps. What got me to try the Beam app was the monetary incentive built into it. While grocery shopping at Carrefour, I was introduced to Beam and was told that I would get AED 40 off on my purchases right then and there. Later, I realised that for every AED 500 you spend, you get 10% back. Since the app works in over 3,000 stores, including grocery stores Carrefour and Geant, as well as VOX Cinemas and now ENOC and Eppco petrol stations, you can collect your reward points very quickly from doing your daily everyday necessary purchases and then use the rewards for non-essential ‘treats’ such as cinema tickets, coffee, a meal or a spa day. This very generous rewards programme is at the heart of Beam’s user adoption and retention strategy.
From a business point of view, Beam provides a mobile marketing platform to retailers and gives them access to an app that consumers are incentivized to use rather than developing their own single-store app which would see infrequent usage. It is also very tangible as they only pay for actual transactions rather than views.
The co-founder of Beam Wallet, Shezan Amiji, in an interview with Invest Magazine mentions why Dubai and the UAE, as a location, has proved to be so successful for Beam. The UAE has one of the highest rates of internet and smartphone penetration in the world and a very young population with high disposable incomes who are constantly on their phones. Also, he mentions, that in general both businesses and consumers are more open to taking risks and trying out new things.
Beam’s initial success in the UAE and the backing of MAF Ventures is now allowing the company to look at international expansion with Sweden and Australia on their horizons for the coming months. It’s exciting to see a homegrown UAE concept becoming a global player in the world of m-commerce.