Michael Chai, Director at Legend cinema, smiled as he scanned the long queues of Spiderman fans waiting to see the latest installment of the blockbuster Hollywood franchise in Phnom Penh’s Toul Kork district last weekend.
“Opening weekends for big movies like this are always a success for us - and this one looks like it’s going to be bigger than ever,” commented Chai .
The large crowds were in part a testimony to the continued popularity of the big superhero movie franchises around the globe.
But there was something else helping lure movie goers out on this damp Saturday evening - a 50% discount being offered on all movie tickets for customers who pay with a new cashless payment app that is currently being rolled out in the Kingdom.
“Definitely we have seen more and more customers using the Pi Pay app from their phones to buy their tickets - and they obviously really like the discounts and the ease and convenience of using this app,” stated Chai .
Pi Pay, developed in Cambodia, as the country’s first fully cashless payment app, has been released as a test version over the last few weeks and Pi Pay “hubs” have become an increasingly familiar presence in shops, restaurants, cinemas and other locations around the capital.
Kouch Sokly, Managing Director of CBM, which operates Tous Les Jours cafes, Domino’s Pizza and other branded F&B outlets, says that cashless payment apps are not just attractive for the customers enjoying big promotional discounts but are also attractive for the merchants who accept payment through these apps.
“We obviously like this because it not only brings in more customers but it also makes our sales operations more efficient as the sales process is very quick and we handle less cash which means our staff can concentrate on other customer service functions and be more attentive to our diners”, said Kouch.
Back at the cinema and customer Chea Makara is all smiles as well as he finishes his purchase of cinema tickets for him and his son - netting himself a 50% discount by using the Pi Pay app.
“Of course the discount is the biggest benefit for me as everyone loves to save a bit of money, right? But it’s also so easy to use, quicker than counting out cash and much safer because I don’t need to carry so much cash around when I go to my favourite shops, restaurants and here to the movies,” said Makara.
“After the movie, I’m going to treat the boy to a Domino’s Pizza - they are also offering a 50% discount there as well. I might need to top up my Pi Pay wallet soon,” he said with a chuckle.
For now, in the roll-out or beta phase, topping up the e-wallet in the Pi Pay app does involve handing cash over either at one of the many Pi Pay hubs in partner merchants or through Pay & Go kiosks around the capital.
But the company says soon even these cash transactions will be overtaken by direct cashless top -ups through a network of partner banks and financial institutions.
“Very soon we will be able to declare ourselves a truly cashless app from beginning to end and in the coming days we will be making announcements about our financial partners who, along with our merchant partners and of course our customers, are all part of the growing Pi Pay family,” concluded Pi Pay CEO Tomas Pokorny.