Zapper tackles SA dining

Read time 2min 40sec

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to payment apps, as different verticals have different nuances.

This is according to Zap Group MD Derek Wiggill and comes as the local company is driving its home-grown payments app across local soil, but only in restaurants for now.

Zapper, a locally developed quick response (QR) code smartphone payment app, has started rolling out to South African restaurants, following a successful pilot phase and extensive international rollout. Meanwhile, plans for expansion across different verticals are in the pipeline.

Developed by the Zap Group and first launched in the UK in October last year, Zapper allows patrons of local restaurants to pay their bills by scanning a code printed on their slip. Customers have the option of splitting the bill and including gratuity, as well as rating service.

Merchants are able to use the app to manage customer relationships and offer incentives ? encouraging return business - says Wiggill.

In addition to the UK, Zapper has been rolled out in Ireland, France, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Australia. Wiggill says launches in the Middle East, Asia and US are imminent.

Local launch

While Zapper has been available from Android, Windows and iOS app stores for some time now, Wiggill says the real local push has just recently begun.

The reasons for the relatively belated local launch of the home-grown app, says Wiggill, include market readiness and regulatory requirements.

"You have to have a certain level of smartphone penetration to be able to successfully launch an app like Zapper, which relies on users spreading the word based on their experience. At the same time, the price point for data has dropped to the point that people are not as constrained when it comes to downloading apps."

The local financial regulatory environment, notes Wiggill, is highly regulated - something he says is a major plus-point when dealing with secure payments and ensuring users' trust.

"We had to make sure we had full PCI [Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard] compliance, for example, before we could go into the local market and that took time."

Zapper is already live in about 100 eatery sites in SA (including Spur, The Baron and Mike's Kitchen) - with another 150 queued to go live over the next 30 days, says Wiggill. "It is not just about switching the app on. Our team provides training for merchants in terms of customer awareness and engagement - from management level to the waiters."

Locally, the Zapper team consists of about 100 people, with significant expansion under way. By the end of July, the team will be about 160-strong - spread across Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town, says Wiggill. All development, from the software to backend systems, is done in SA.

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