Will Beam change the future of retail?

Beam are an existing payments acceptance platform with built in support for smart contracts, founded in the UAE.  But we’re kind of not sure what their program does…

From what we can gather, Beam are currently set up as a cashback model where members within the UAE are rewarded in dirhams, not points when they transact at participating retailers.

Now that Beam have an established network and product, Beam are planning a blockchain marketing play using the Beam Platform to facilitate the exchange of data for value between retail customers and stakeholders using the Beam Token (of which they’re going to create 10 trillion).

At a glance, Beam do seem to have a lot going for them including:

  • Established since 2011
  • 4+ million transactions processed through existing app
  • $33 Million AED redeemed in rewards
  • 750,000+ members
  • Accepted at over 5,000 stores at over 14,000 terminals including Costa Coffee, ALDO, Tommy Hilfiger, Unilever, Coca-Cola

Competitors are outlined in the diagram below:

In the words of Beam the problems are:

“No one has a complete picture of individual consumer behaviour that dictates demand and supply” and “tech and payment giants monopolise this loophole to reinforce an exploitative product-driven economy”.

Beam claim their solution will “end the war on data” where “we get paid for sharing all or parts of it with whomever we see fit”.

Basically, they’re saying that the big players sell our data for profit, and instead consumers should sell their attention and data for profit, a concept quite common throughout blockchain marketing plays.

But Beam, we’re a little confused… why are you coming from a blockchain marketing angle instead of a blockchain loyalty angle if you’re claiming to have had 33 million AED redeemed in rewards since you started operations? Is solving data ownership problems the main value proposition your product delivers, as this is the main callout throughout all communications?

The whitepaper and the website are full of bold statements and big ideas and do not simply tell us what the product does, what the token does, and how the token can be earned and redeemed. We want to know all of the ways that demand will be generated for Beam Token on an ongoing basis. We want you to explain some of the gamification plays which will encourage members to release their data to the retailer in order to fulfil the smart contracts.

Overall, Beam do have existing relationships with key stakeholders and they seem to be able to operate at scale. The Beam team have great credentials, they are producing some solid video content and they have a working app. However, we think the communications around the Beam Token, the program design and the usefulness of the token need to be simplified and unified across all channels before they’ll realise success, and perhaps they should even be taking a blockchain loyalty program approach rather than a blockchain marketing one.

Stacey Lyons is the Marketing Director at Loyalty & Reward Co, a leading loyalty management consulting agency based in Sydney. Stacey has years of experience within loyalty, marketing and eCommerce across multiple channels and business models. Most recently, Stacey has been managing the investor, member and retailer communications for blockchain loyalty company EZToken Rewards.

Stacey is a proud pioneer of women in blockchain and regularly contributes to www.blockchainloyalty.io global resource centre for everything blockchain loyalty. Let’s connect! LinkedIn, Twitter