Tracking Customer Accounts–Swipe Cards and Logins
Every promotional sweepstakes product requires that all customers have unique accounts. When sweepstakes entries (points or credits) are added to a customer’s account, the server records it. When a customer accesses his account to participate in the promotional sweepstakes, the entries are reduced as he “reveals” whether or not he has won–which uses credits. The account continues to track how many credits he has. If the customer exits the business leaving credits on his account and returns later, the server will keep track of important information, including how many credits are left on his account.
Two prevailing systems exist for identifying Sweepstakes Internet Cafe customer accounts. The older system tracks customers by using a Swipe Card. A common misconception is that this card actually has “money” or “credits” on it. The truth is that the card is merely an identification card. When the customer swipes the card, the computer associates the card with the appropriate account. If the account has a balance of credits left on it, those will stay in the account until the customer removes them.
A few disadvantages of this older system are:
1) Swipe Cards are expensive. Business owners are frequently charged as much as $1.00 per card to purchase the cards for their customers.
2) Card readers are expensive. If you decide to use a sweepstakes promotional system that requires card readers, you’ll pay about $50 more per station–which is how much the card readers cost.
3) Customers lose cards. Most sweepstakes businesses simply say “if you lose it, it’s gone.” Of course, this is never a fun thing to tell a customer. On the other hand, a customer will never lose his name, which is frequently used for a login system.
The more modern approach for identifying Sweepstakes Internet Cafe customer accounts is to use a Login System. The login system is simply an easier way to identify the customer instead of using a swipe card. When the customer enters the store for the first time, the employee creates the customer account by using some sort of a unique identifier. Anything can be used as an account name, but most businesses use a driver’s license number or the customer’s name. The customer is then asked to select a password that he can remember. Once this has been done the employee adds the appropriate amount of credits to the account, just like with a card-based system. Now instead of swiping a card, the customer merely types in his user name and password. Again, just like the swipe card system, if the account has a balance of credits on it when the customer leaves, the credits stay on the account until the customer removes them.
Most pundits agree that the login system is more efficient, and is obviously less expensive, than the swipe card system. However, in the end both accomplish exactly the same thing–allowing the system to match a customer with his sweepstakes account.