FROM OUR ASIAN NEWS BUREAU – Points earned from Japan’s Ponta loyalty program have become interchangeable with loyalty currencies in Indonesia and Malaysia, enabling customers to earn and use points when shopping in any of the three countries.
Loyalty Marketing Inc., operator of Japan’s largest non-travel loyalty marketing program – Ponta – has announced a smartphone-based borderless point program for Indonesia’s 20 million Ponta members and Malaysia’s 8 million BonusLink members. Ponta boasts a domestic membership of 86 million in Japan, linking together over 100 million members in the three nations with a common platform for earning and redeeming loyalty points.
Coupled with established partnerships in Taiwan and South Korea, the network now has the potential to reach more than 150 million members across select areas in Asia.
Ponta points have been available in Indonesia through a local partner, PT. Global Loyalty Indonesia, since 2015, and are now used at 15,000 retail outlets such as convenience stores, restaurants, hotels, and education and financial institutions under 75 brands.
In Malaysia, Loyalty Marketing has teamed up with BonusKad Loyalty Sdn. Bhd. since 2016 to make Ponta points interchangeable with those of BonusLink, the most widely used point program in the country and available at 3,000 outlets.
In Taiwan, Eastern Integrated Marketing Inc. has offered a loyalty program under the license of Loyalty Marketing, allowing its 6 million members and counterparts in Japan to earn and use their Ponta points in either market.
Under an alliance with SK Planet Co., which operates South Korea’s largest loyalty program OK Cashbag, 34 million members can earn and use Ponta points during their visits to Japan or they can also bring back those points to use in their home country.
Established in 2008, Loyalty Marketing launched the Ponta loyalty program in 2010 and claims nearly 200,000 partner outlets in Japan.
The current announcement is exciting on several fronts. It’s relatively frictionless, as the member only needs to shop in-network using the smart phone app. The cross-market acceptance will clearly resonate with a growing number of visitors to and from Japan. The behind the scenes platform to handle transaction tracking, transference of payments in different real currencies, and the necessary reconciliation of different point values has blockchain technology written all over it. Finally, it is a shining example of how the coalition loyalty model is still alive and well in specific regions of the world.
Where will Ponta go next?