Web: How smartcard Coin bounced back from near failure

March 2016 by: From The Web

What to do if your product launch goes awry?


Coin, a smartcard startup, had that experience after much fanfare and an impressive crowdfunding campaign.  The YC-backed company raised $50,000 in less than an hour.  The concept — to store all your credit cards, membership cards, and gift cards on a single card — quickly accrued a fan following.


But the product didn’t deliver; the first iteration was plagued with problems.  Last year, Coin bounced back with version 2.0.  Turns out that a failed launch isn’t the end of a company.


Tony Pham, Vice President of Marketing at Coin, is upfront about their hiccups:


“People have not been shy about sharing the feedback,” he says. “But it was good for us to take a step back. Perfect doesn’t exist.  None of these systems are 100 percent compatible.”


He’s referring to point-of-sale devices: the hardware used at checkout counters to swipe your credit card.  As the US has shifted to EMV, or chip technology, these devices need to be updated.   Plus with the introduction of Apple Pay last year, stores have slowly shifted to NFC enabled payment systems.


However, Pham says that stores who do have NFC-enabled POS systems still struggle to change consumer behavior: “Most people don’t use it or have not used it consistently. We’ve learned that it’s really hard to change consumer habits.”


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