For Jon Carder, founder and CEO of Mogl, driving online to offline commerce is like the Holy Grail of the internet. That’s because, as he explains, it’s difficult to track somebody who sees an online ad and then goes to purchase the offer in person.
Consider that about 92 percent of all commerce still takes place offline. If companies could figure out a plan to track somebody from online to offline, they would not only help their own business but also attract advertising dollars from other companies.
“It’s been really hard to find a solution for this issue. Daily deals were sort of a solution, and everybody jumped into that space big time because these online companies wanted to attract advertising dollars from offline businesses,” says Carder. “Now, we all know the challenges of daily deals. Still though, there’s a lot of hunger for an online to offline solution.”
Over the last year Carder has been building an elegant solution in Mogl for online to offline commerce tracking in the form of a cash back, loyalty program. One of the most crucial steps in this year long process has been forging strategic partnerships with credit card giants Visa, MasterCard, and AmEx: they can track any transaction at any offline merchant in less than one minute now.
Say you’re walking down a street and pass a merchant pushing an advertisement. The Mogl platform notifies you that the merchant is offering a 20 percent cash back for something only 200 yards away.
If you want, you simply walk in the front door and order as normal. When the check comes you use the card that’s linked to your Mogl account while the waiter swipes it like normal. Within five to ten seconds you’ll get a notification on your phone that you just earned 20 percent cash back, or whatever the deal might be.
Thanks to the partnerships with the credit card companies, Mogl is able to route the money directly to your bank account with no hassle. Carder has also imbibed an element of social good into his platform too, giving users the chance to donate their cash back to a charity of their choice.
This instant gratification on the reward creates a link between the online and offline worlds. And the reason Carder classifies Mogl as ‘elegant’ is because the staff and business don’t need to change anything in their normal routine to take advantage of the platform.
“When we set out we didn’t try to solve this problem. We really wanted to build the world’s best restaurant rewards plan,” says Carder. “I’m a huge fan of UX and making sure that there’s as little friction as possible. I was competing against coupons, punch card, apps, and daily deals.”
To date Carder and his team have refined Mogl and now have 1,500 businesses using it across California and hundreds of thousands of customers. And aside from their already impressive partnership deals, Mogl has raised $25 million from Avalon Ventures, Sigma West Ventures, Correlation Ventures, and Cisco Ventures.
“The way we pulled this off was persistence. We had a lot of ‘nos’ but we stuck with it and got it done. We built relationships over time – it didn’t happen overnight,” says Carder.