Archive | September 16, 2015

Digital Transformation In Order To Replace the Paper Stampcard

Are you also annoyed with collecting several stampcards for bakeries, butchers, coffeeshops and other retailers?

Every shop has his own way of loyalty rewards for their customers that results in several stampcards in any wallet. Luckily, three guys developed a solution in 2013 that is catching popularity among shops and customers throughout the whole country. Will the old-school collecting stampcard made of paper make room for the digital transformation called Piggy? The standard loyalty reward systems of the brick and mortar shops are obsolete, if it is up to the founders of Piggy. The time to collect stamps on a paper card after every purchase in order to get a free consumption at your next visit is outdated. This notice resulted in a business to digitalize this way of customer rewarding.

The idea of Piggy is that a person can collect his/her points with the Piggy card or application (Android and iOS) by simply scanning their code at a shop that is affiliated with the Piggy system. Each customer is earning points for their purchases at a particular shop and these points can be exchanged for rewards (i.e. a free coffee, a free apple pie or whatever). It is the same idea as the paper stamp-collecting-card, but with Piggy you can use one card or application for the (circa) 500 shops that are compatible with the Piggy system right now. And they are growing fast..

The digital transformation in this case caused more then a replacement of the paper version. The application shows a map with the shops that are affiliated with the Piggy system; so Piggy holders can easily see the shops where they can collect points for rewards. The other way around is it an easy way for shops to attract new customers. Another feature for the shops is the newsfeed (i.e. funny facts, acknowledgements, promotions, etc.) within the application. The customers are able to share the message in the newsfeed to create a form of worth-of-mouth advertising for the shop. Using Piggy to do a part of the local marketing can reduce costly flyers and advertisements. At last, shops get a dashboard to analyze the data of their customers.

The question is if Piggy is capable of acquiring all shops in the Netherlands in order to outcompete their paper counterpart. It will be a tough mission, but certainly possible if they keep growing and will stay the only provider of their business. At some point, shops cannot refuse Piggy if a great number of shops in the country joined the Piggy system or when customers are asking for the possibility to use Piggy. The future will show what will happen with this digital transformation!


Using the Internet for Health Information

Did you ever lost yourself browsing through the Internet searching for your illness symptoms? I bet we have all done it: You are not feeling well and instead of visiting your doctor you turn to your computer and rely on the magical powers of Google. But watch out before you know it you are cyberchondriac.


With the increasing availability of online medial information sources more and more people are using the Internet to find health related information. The actual amount of Internet users searching for health information online varies across studies between 60 and 80%. But all studies agree that online health information has become one of the most important information sources.

Often people use the Internet to diagnose themselves resulting in the most terrible diseases. Microsoft studied the probability that the word brain tumor would come up in response to the search term headache. There were just as many results linking headaches with brain tumors as with caffeine withdrawal (0.26). While the change of having a brain tumor is much more rare.

Using the Internet for self-diagnosing can in some cases even result in cyberchondria. But what is cyberchondria? The term or phenomenon cyberchondria derives from the terms cyber and hypochondria. It is an “unfounded anxiety concerning the state of one’s health brought on by visiting health and medical websites”. Some people even stated that the Internet is making us (feel) sick. And like all other markets there are people who benefit from cyberchondria and making money out of it. Because when we think we are ill we tend to buy wrong medicines online or adopt expensive and pointless home therapy.

On the other hand it is maybe just a matter of time before the Internet would offer more reliable information. Mr. Horvitz is a computer scientist with a medical degree and is working as a researcher at Microsoft. He stated that it would be possible to create search engines that are able to detect medical queries and offer advise that not automatically make you fear the worst.

In my opinion the Internet is great for gathering information but please leave the real work to the doctors. But what do you think? Can we trust the Internet for health information? And to what extent will the Internet replace doctors in the future?


Xiao, N., Sharman R., Rao H.R., Upadhyaya, S. (2012) Factors influencing online health information search: An empirical analysis of a national cancer-related survey. Elsevier