Would a text message from a local coffee shop offering a free espresso get you back in the door? With some help from Red River College students working out of the ACE Project Space in the Exchange District, a new Winnipeg-based service provider believes the answer is yes.
Chekkit Wifi Marketing and Analytics is the brainchild of Daniel Fayle, Myles Hiebert, Lee Klimpke and Emily Franz-Lien, whose aim is to help businesses build loyalty programs through Wi-Fi login pages and text messages.
The team members are currently Entrepreneurs in Residence at RRC’s new project space on McDermot Avenue, where they’ve been working with Business Information Technology students to develop their product.
“The knowledge and resources available at ACE and in the Exchange District is immense,” says Fayle. “When we started, we had nothing — and through ACE we have office space, networking opportunities, a boardroom to host meetings and demonstrations, and a lot of support.
“The students we worked with were a big asset and we’re grateful to have been able to provide them with an opportunity to share their skills.”
The Chekkit team’s goal is to create optimal first experiences for customers, and to generate repeat traffic for businesses that offer free Wi-Fi.
“In creating this product our question was, ‘If someone walks in the door, how do you get them back in?’ Most people, their eyes are on their phone, and they’re going to log in to Wi-Fi,” Fayle explains.
“When they log in or when they leave, they can opt in to receive great deals from the business they visited and the brand they love, so the business can send them an offer that will make them want to come back.”
Hiebert says most businesses now consider Wi-Fi something they’re obliged to offer, without putting much thought into how it can be leveraged to increase value to customers, or how to use it as a marketing tool and revenue generator.
“Business owners have overlooked the inherent value of Wi-Fi networks, and the marketing potential here,” he says.
One advantage to the ACE Project Space is it allows students to fulfil their learning outcomes while gaining practical experiences with the Entrepreneurs in Residence. BIT students Kamaljeet Singh Dhaliwal and Victoria Reyes worked with Chekkit to help them develop and refine their service.
“The four-month term went really quick and I think that’s a result of good teamwork,” says Dhaliwal. “Daniel and Myles had a lot of ideas and worked with the two developers (Franz-Lien & Klimpke) to bring them to life. My main role was to configure a router to support the service and Vicky worked on creating a login page. I also had the opportunity to practice finding bugs in the website and fixing them.”
Haider Al-Saidi, chair of Applied Computer Education (ACE) at RRC, says he’s excited to see partnerships such as this one unfolding in the collaborative space.
“We’ve had 20 projects from entrepreneurs and businesses developed in the space this year,” says Al-Saidi. “[We’re] proud to be able to support people like the Chekkit team, who have a great idea and just need a boost of support to get it off the ground. It’s an incredible experience for our students to be a part of something and to help a business solve a problem or issue that’s been holding them back.”
Chekkit currently has more than 30 clients in Winnipeg, and has seen more than 15,000 unique logins. Plans are underway to develop it for national use before expanding into the international market.
Follow @Wpgrewards on Instagram to learn more about rewards being offered to customers with help from Chekkit.
Shown above, from left: Chekkit's Lee Klimpke, Daniel Fayle and Emily Franz-Lien, at RRC's ACE Project Space.