Indians are no strangers to cashbacks — for the last few years, all kinds of companies have been pampering them with rewards each time they made purchases, and have hoped to win their loyalty. But while cashbacks don’t really register with most consumers any more — Indians, it could be said, are over their cashback honeymoon — Google Pay seems to have managed to make them sit up and take notice.
Google Pay has launched a new scheme, through which, instead of getting customers getting money into their accounts for each transaction they make, they get a stamp. Google Pay has 5 kinds of stamps — there’s a Jhumka, a flower, a Diya, a lantern and a Rangoli. Users randomly get one of these stamps when they make transactions, and if they collect all 5, they get a straight reward of Rs. 251.
It seems a simple enough idea, but Google turned it up a notch — it said that users could send their stamps to each other, which meant that they could exchange stamps that they had more of, with those they needed to finish their sets. This set off a frenzy on Twitter, with people jostling for stamps with each other.
— RR? (@RR_4518) October 25, 2019
— Krishnan_jr (@krishnan__jr) October 30, 2019
Some people managed to collect all 5 stamps, and showed off on Twitter.
— ShahRukh Qureshi (@srk_eee) October 24, 2019
Soon enough, the memes began. There was lots of fun poked at the elusive Rangoli stamp.
— Nirdayi Billa (@sarKAUSHIKtik) October 25, 2019
Me – I want a Rangoli stamp
Google Pay – pic.twitter.com/8XRw42HNDG
— Bade Chote (@badechote) October 30, 2019
— अंजली? (@iamanjali16) October 29, 2019
Me: i like you.
She: shakal dekhi hai apni?
Me: i have rangoli stamps in google pay.
— Mocksterr (@Mocksterr) October 30, 2019
Everyone to Google pay pic.twitter.com/J1jqr3rUO7
— dorku (@Dorkstar) October 26, 2019
Google, for its part, is likely enjoying a surge in its usage — people have been making transactions on the app, hoping to get their 5 stamps. And the social media buzz, including the jokes and the memes, is publicity that the company couldn’t have bought without spending a fair amount of money.
There are several things that Google did right with its campaign. Google might be a US-based company, but its campaign was localized — it was centered around Diwali, and used popular Diwali motifs, including Diyas and Rangolis. To top it off, the cashback amount was Rs. 251, the additional 1 after a round figure being considered auspicious in Hindu culture. It also gamified the cashback experience — instead of giving a flat cashback for each transaction, Google made people perform several transactions, and kept a suitably large prize as a reward. And the social aspect of the campaign was probably the icing on the cake — the ability to transfer stamps among users put the campaign out on the internet, and helped it go viral.
Cashbacks as a means to acquire users were thought to largely be a thing of the past, but as Google has shown, it’s possible to flog an old horse, provided you have enough ingenuity.