Since returning from technology conference and music festival SXSW in Austin, Texas two years ago Christian McGilloway has been talking up the benefits of blockchain and crypto-currencies at his company Retail Zoo.\n\u201cWe observed that bitcoin, a global phenomenon that hailed a whole new era of digital currency, was particularly popular amongst our target demographic due to its truly disruptive technological innovation,\u201d McGilloway says.\nInitially, the company decided to start accepting Bitcoin at its more than 260 Boost Juice stores in Australia. However, just before the planned launch, mining fees became \u2018astronomical\u2019 (a high of $37 for a $7 transaction) with processing times simply unacceptable for frequent, low cost transactions.\nSo McGilloway and his team failed fast and pivoted, establishing a futures markets game in which customers were given the chance to guess the price of Bitcoin to the cent a week into the future.\n\u201cOnce they had lodged their guess no one else could guess that value, whoever was closest to the price won a whole bitcoin. We give away four bitcoins to four customers over a month period, a potentially life changing prize never before offered by an Australian retailer,\u201d he says.\n\u201cFrom its inception, the value of Bitcoin skyrocketed so significantly that the purchase was out of reach for many Australians. Boost Juice wanted to change this and give every Aussie a chance to be a part of the potentially life changing phenomenon,\u201d McGilloway adds.\nThe game drove traffic into the Boost Juice app and stores \u2013 to enter the \u2018Bitcoin Boom or Bust\u2019 competition consumers had to buy a drink to receive a unique code they entered into the app to make their guess \u2013 and increased the frequency of purchases.\n\u201cThe rollercoaster that is Bitcoin has been very well documented in the media, however it doesn\u2019t make that fascination with the currency any less appealing which is why we are excited to be giving our customers a chance to get involved and potentially walk away with a strong investment,\u201d McGilloway says.\nHowever, part of the games appeal \u2013 the potential for Bitcoin value to soar \u2013 was a problem for the company as \u201cwe literally would not know how much we would be giving way from one week to the next\u201d.\nIn response, the team partnered with Melbourne based crypto-exchange CoinJar.\n\u201cCoinjar allowed us to bulk purchase the crypto currency and also provided us with some in return for using their price API,\u201d McGilloway explains.\nThe campaign was a huge success. Some 64,626 customers entered, and there was a significant spike in app downloads and re-engagement of dormant app accounts. Customer app usage increased by 70 per cent, from 10,000 to 17,000 per day during the campaign.There was also a 21 per cent increase in sales volume through the app on the previous month.It \u201cexceeded all of our expectations,\u201d McGilloway adds.\n\u201cIt was like a flux capacitor in a cup,\u201d he says.\nDespite this, and the current \u2018blockchain mania\u2019, McGilloway remains sober to the potential of the technology and crypto-currency within Retail Zoo.\n\u201cIn January of this year there was a rush on every company wanting to be the first to offer cryptocurrency at their store and I admit we were caught up in the hysteria. It had always been on our roadmap but the rise in crypto thrust it to the fore. But what benefit does it bring for today\u2019s customer? This is a question that I am still wrestling with as we are currently looking at placing our loyalty system on blockchain. Does it need to be on the blockchain?\u201d McGilloway says.\nThis year has also seen the launch of Pokemon Go style augmented reality game \u2013 Find the Fruit.\nThe game involves users tracking down \u2018fruigitives\u2019 which can be traded for vouchers and prizes at stores.\n\u201cBy introducing the augmented surroundings feature to the Find the Fruit app, we encouragedplayers to get off the couch and enjoy the game outside,\u201d McGilloway says.\nThe rewards linked to the game were dynamically and manually controlled to both test customer sentiment of their captured fruit being worth $2 off one moment and a Free Boost next. If a particular store had more users redeeming their prizes, the amount of \u2018fruit\u2019 needed to receive an offer increased.\nAs Retail Zoo founder and executive director Janine Allis puts it: \u201cIt is in our nature to want to be at the leading edge of technology in the QSR sector\u201d.\nNo fear\nTeam culture is paramount for McGilloway. His department is diverse and \u2018one of the loudest\u2019 having fostered \u201can amazing fun work ethic\u201d. Its agile ways of working have spread to other parts of the company \u201cmaking the business fast, cross-functional, experimental, and self-directed\u201d.\nHaving been promoted from head of digital to CTIO (chief technical innovation officer) last year, McGilloway supports the leadership team and all staff in reshaping the company around new approaches to doing business. \n\u201cWe have to innovate, take chances and not be afraid of failure,\u201d he says.