Loyal1 Wants To Help SMEs Reap The Rewards Of Loyalty Programmes

Platform aims to help businesses attract and retain customers


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Image: www.Loyal1.co.za

Loyalty programmes are being used by millions of South Africans, however it's mostly been big retailers who have offered rewards to their customers, including ClicksEdgars and Pick n Pay, who according to a Business Tech report, have the country's biggest rewards programmes.

SMEs have largely been left out of the action, however this is set to change with the launch of Loyal1. The founder is Tshepiso Manyoha, a self-confessed rewards fanatic. 

"The loyalty and rewards landscape was very segmented so I decided to build a platform that would consolidate and digitise the environment, but also create a new ecosystem aimed at catering for loyalty and rewards fanatics like me," Manyoha says. 


The Loyal1 interface. 
Image: www.loyal1.co.za

Loyal1's LaaS (loyalty as a service) app, which launched in May this year, is a cloud-based loyalty management platform that digitises already existing loyalty and rewards programmes and allows SMEs to create their own; it consolidates them on one platform, and helps shoppers to navigate through the noise. The app is available on the Vodacom AppStore.

IMAGE: WWW.LOYAL1.CO.ZA

Tshepiso Manyoha,
founder and CEO of Loyal1

Manyoha is a former IT consultant and business developer who has worked for the likes of Multichoice Africa and global management consulting and technology services company Accenture SA. 

A New Offering For SMEs

The platform's main focus is SMEs, with business owners able to use the app to create a profile, build custom loyalty programmes and communicate with their customers.

Business owners also gain data from the platform, including being able to track every customer's visit and history on the dashboard. For example, a carwash rewarding its customers with a free wash after every six washes.

Large retailers are also able to make use of the platform. The benefit of this is twofold, says Manyoha - it simplifies the entire process for users by allowing them to have all their  loyalty programmes on one platform and it also exposes the loyalty programmes of smaller retailers to the millions of subcribers that large retailers enjoy. 

By integrating both major retailers and SMEs, Manyoha says in the future a customer could potentially be able to spend their rewards earned at various (big and small) retailers at any of the participating retailers or even invest them for future gains.

A Marketing Boon

The marketing opportunities loyalty programmes hold for small businesses is one of the biggest advantages of the app, says Manyoha.

Research by Nielsen found that 84% of consumers are more likely to choose retailers that offer such a programme.

Retailers use loyalty and rewards programmes to not only attract new customers, but as a powerful customer retention tool to motivate existing customers to remain engaged and spend more.

More recently loyalty programmes are used by retailers to gain valuable consumer data, including purchasing behaviour and demographics. 


See also: Mobile Is Changing The Customer Loyalty Game

 

A New Idea Has Challenges

As a relative newcomer, Manyoha says their biggest hurdle has been finding partners who believe in their potential enough to take a risk, and that investors are rather looking to invest, in what he calls, a "sure thing". 

Reception from SMEs has been a little more positive, Manyoha says.

They are starting to gain some traction just a couple of months in. The app has 6 000 downloads most of which came from the Vodacom AppStore, with over 100 businesses signing on.

"The overall reception from small businesses has been amazing and we are confident that we will have over 10 000 small businesses using our platform in the next five years in South Africa alone. Testing and pilots have already began in Kenya, Nigeria, India, UK, USA, Australia and India."

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