How a Japanese startup plans to disrupt the CRM industry with a...

How a Japanese startup plans to disrupt the CRM industry with a mobile solution

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See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based digital marketing startup Showcase Gig recently launched a suite of CRM (customer relationship management) solutions for small-sized stores. The service is called ‘O:der’ (apparently pronounced “order”), and is comprised of two iOS apps, one for consumers and another for merchants.

The merchants app allows you to market your business by issuing virtual coupons, and collect payments from customers before they visit your store. The app gives you several CRM features such as authenticating customers at the storefront for rewards, or distributing promotional coupons to customers’ smartphones. This solution will help you market your business without a point of sales terminal. As of now, the service is running at Fiat Caffe in Aoyama, Tokyo on a testing basis. The Android version of the consumer app will go live in early September.

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The service will be provided on a freemium basis. If you wish to use additional options such as the virtual stamp feature (for consumers to collect reward points), you will be charged 5,000 yen per month. Coinciding with the release of the Android app, these merchants services will also be available in early September. The below video will give you an idea of how it will work.

For retailers serving customers in a limited space with few staffers, it would be difficult to set up a desktop PC for a CRM system. But this sort of app may be a better solution. I saw a demo of how it will work, and the app was very intuitive in its operation.

The startup’s CEO Takefumi Nitta is hoping to disrupt the CRM industry. In addition to online businesses, he has been involved in notable offline businesses too, producing Tokyo Girls Collection and mixiXmas [1]. Mr. Nitta explains:

There are many things that were not possible with feature phones several years ago, but we can do them with smartphones now. In my experience at mixiXmas, effective social marketing could motivate more than tens of thousands of users to act. For big merchants, that population may be small. But what’s about for small businesses? I intend to standardize these marketing processes and create a permanent consumer movement.

In the past, CRM solutions were intended for big merchants. But the high penetration of smartphones has drastically changed our environment. As some of our readers may know, here in Japan we have seen more and more Shopify-like commerce platforms such as Stores.jp or Base, typically helping small merchants run long-tail businesses online. Perhaps Showcase Gig can make its CRM solutions fit these same long-tail businesses.


  1. Tokyo Girls Collection is one of the biggest fashion events in Japan. Meanwhile, mixiXmas is a seasonal promotional campaign hosted by Mixi.  ↩