After Successful Kenyan stint, NikoHapa now eyes more African Frontiers

After a signup of an estimated 4,000 users and 70 businesses within a span of just eight months, NikoHapa, a Kenyan phone-based customer-loyalty card is now focusing on frontier markets in Nigeria and Uganda.

“Rolling out was a fantastic experience. The feedback we received has strongly enriched the product and will reflect in our just out card product. There are also very few players in the customer engagement space – where we are. It is now that we are set for the growth we have anticipated all along,” said Bernard Adongo, NikoHapa CEO and founder.

The customer check-in service is a new application in the Kenyan market designed with similar concept as Foursqaure, a location-based social site for phones, since it allows users to “check-in” at specific food joints by selecting from a list of nearby joints displayed by the application.

It uses a network location provided by the application or GPS hardware installed on the phone to determine the location of nearby eateries.

The benefits for establishments include, having a loyal customer base and marketing services across social networks when users visit their premises. Adongo told HumanIPO this has given food outlets including cafes and restaurants an opportunity to reward their patrons.

Users can check into their favourite restaurant at KSh1 per SMS. The server tracks each time a user checks in displays the data to the user and the restaurant management. The application also displays the number of check-ins on the NikoHapa feed at www.nikohapa.com/feed. At the fourth check-in, the user receives a free cup of coffee.

The application also offers analysis services that keep track of customers, their locations, and their likes.

“The original framework of customers checking-in at cafes & restaurants using SMS was started by Jeremy Gordon in early March, 2011. Caine Kamau and I joined him towards the end of that month. We built up the SMS infrastructure, refined and piloted the product for launch by June 15. This was the beginning of one of the first location-based service in Kenya,” said Adongo.

NikoHapa isn’t the only phone-based location service, other search giants such as Foursquare and OpenStreetMaps have been used by business globally, for customer check-in service.

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