Revolutionising high street shopping and rewarding those who buy from local businesses, the Carlo app has been downloaded by over 17,500 people in Monaco. More than 8 million euros have already been injected into the local economy since the app went live.

“Some chocolate from Jeff de Bruges, new shoes for my daughter from Capucine’s and a restaurant.” Ever since Aline, a 36 year old in the Principality, first benefited from her work bonus given by the Princely Government’s via the mobile app Carlo, she has chosen to buy from local businesses. Thanks to Carlo, she earns 5% cashback from every purchase she makes. From household appliances to brand new outfits, Aline has been able to add the cashback to her virtual wallet and spend it in any of the 275 participating stores.

Rewarding local shoppers and supporting local businesses

Since last December, the Princely Government has distributed over 5 million euros in bonuses given to public service employees via this app. “Those who have received a bonus have had no choice but to spend it at the heart of the Principality, which I find completely normal: it’s a huge plus for our retailers!” says this employee of Monaco’s Town Hall.

Since the app launched in 2019, more than 8 million euros have been spent locally. “I’ve already earned around 60 euros in cashback,” says Arnaud, a Monégasque who started using the app in January. “This system means the customer is definitely a winner, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to completely stop online shopping and go in store instead.”

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Travel Club Monaco

We hope to equip local retailers with the digital tools they need

Antoine Bahri, founder of the startup Carlo

Creating a digital local currency

“We hope to equip local retailers with the digital tools they need,” explains Antoine Bahri, founder of the startup Carlo, who also hopes to create a real community around the Monégasque economy, based on one simple principle: “increasing consumers’ purchasing power when they shop locally.” Inspired by the digital payment methods used across Asia, the startup naturally decided to use a QR code as “a quick, practical and, above all, safe way to pay.”

The team behind the Carlo App
The team working for the startup Carlo / © Alizée Mosconi

“For every purchase made via the app, the retailer has to knock off 10%: 5% is cashback for the client, 2% goes to whoever referred the customer and the remaining 3% finances the startup, meaning 7% of each purchase is re-injected into the local economy,” explains Antoine Bahri. At the moment, the Princely Government’s Red and White Fund, set up to support local businesses through the pandemic, is financing this 10% sum, but this will only be the case until the 30 June. However, Antoine Bahri goes on to reassure that “retailers don’t have to pay anything to become a member of the Carlo network. If the app doesn’t bring them any customers, they will not have to pay anything.”

“Thanks to government’s decision to pay employee bonuses via the Carlo app, my turnover during the Christmas period was higher than it was in 2019,” says Marina Crovetto, owner of a fashion boutique in La Condamine district. “The app has allowed us to increase new customer loyalty,” says Sofia Stampfl, a retailer at Santo Gelato.

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