Loyalzoo Fundraising 2016

When we started Loyalzoo back in 2013, our guiding light was loyalty for SME’s as a panacea. We knew we had created something disruptive and game changing; a loyalty offering aimed at independent merchants which would at the same time do a lot to help the ailing high street both here in the UK and in the US.

With this idealism in mind we were purposefully pragmatic, yet very ambitious in our approach; we decided to use the latest technology to deliver something that would put the independents on par with the large retailers/brands and in doing so create a sustainable customer dialogue with multiple benefits. Loyalzoo, the digital loyalty service for SMBs and eateries is now three years old and growing from strength to strength.

As we head to 2017, we’ve seen our idea grow into more than just something viable – we see a big future ahead. There has been massive year on year growth and huge success for our merchants in the usage of their loyalty program by their customers. Loyalzoo is a very “sticky” service.

In October 2016, we are raising £500,000 in private funding and crowdfunding which will propel us to the next level; it’s a very exciting time.

The SME sector represents more than 70% of retail outlets and we want to bring them the access to technology to engage customers and drive repeat business that they need to thrive. To deliver on this promise, Loyalzoo needs to become bigger and more widely used in a much faster timeframe to counter this threat and empower them to grow.

loyalzoo fundraising 2016

It’s still a David and Goliath struggle for the independents and small chains against the big boys. We’re working hard to help stop the SME retailers from falling behind but the big brands and retail chains have the advantage. They have access to expensive mobile technology and vast reams of data, or big data, to acquire and retain more customers. Loyalzoo is needed more than ever.

We remain true to our founding principles and our focus is now on realising our exciting go-to-market strategy and pipeline. These are truly exciting times and we need to build a presence on more retail, establish more partnerships and reseller engagements to get where we want to be.

For more information on our ambitious plans for growth, visit our crowdfunding page on Seedrs where you can follow us on our £500k fund raising mission: https://www.seedrs.com/loyalzoo3.

Here at Loyalzoo we have just released a new feature to our loyalty app that we call kiwis, letting everyone in on the fun. It’s a true breakthrough in loyalty apps – we’re super excited! Here are 10 reasons why you should be, too; Read more

If you work with marketing or a have an interest in business you might have heard about the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule as it’s also known as. The Pareto Principle refers to the theories and methods by Italian economist and sociologist Vilfred Pareto, used especially to expressing the income distribution of a society as follows; 20% of people have 80% of the goods. In modern marketing its meaning is taken further – often to say that 20% of customers provide 80% of a business’ revenue.

It might sounds extreme – and the numbers may not be 100% accurate, but the baseline is true. Wealth is extremely disproportionately distributed, and regular customers are the most valuable to a business due to their higher lifetime spend. That’s why loyalty cards are so effective – it incentivises repeat business. On the other end of the spectrum it is why massive ad campaigns can be detrimental for smaller business. Without a well known name and deep pockets it is hard to succeed by chasing the bargain hunters. You might read that and think – then how on earth am I ever going to succeed? Independent retailers rarely have unlimited budgets – but even if they did, focusing solely on attracting new business isn’t the smartest way to go.

Plug the hole in the bucket

We discussed this in a previous blog post. There is no point in keep refilling the bucket if there’s a hole in the bottom. Focus should always be first on plugging that hole. Make sure the customers you get remain your customers. Only when you have the plug, should you give some of your attention to filling it up. In case the analogy isn’t clear; there is little point spending your time and money attracting new customers if they are only going to visit you once. Incentivise repeat visits and you’ll be well on your way to establishing a profitable business. This is well known in the industry – but few stores are benefitting as they should. What most of them offer as an incentive is a paper or plastic loyalty card, or discounts sent to their customer e-mails. But how many times have you forgot to drag out your loyalty paper card? We’ve all been there – ruffling through our wallets looking for that one particular bit of plastic or paper, only to realise it was in the midst of that wad we removed the other week to free up some space for change. And this is why more and more companies are getting on mobile – they realise that if they want to reach their customers and keep them engaged, they need to do it in their space. It might not be true for every business – get to know your customers and find the plug that is right for you.

The value of regularity is indisputable though – a study done by the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University showed that revenue from frequent hotel-guests increased 50% annually after they joined a loyalty program compared to those who did not.

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/232191/hotels-turning-to-mobile-to-build-loyalty.html

Anyone alive in the 90s remembers the famous tagline ‘connecting people’. True then – truer now; we are more mobile and more connected than ever before – spending more time socialising online and via our phones than we do in ‘real life’. As humans we crave the connection – for the most part we like to feel part of a group.

That’s partly why social media is so incredibly popular – it lowers the threshold to share and socialise, and makes it easy and less daunting to do so. At the same time we like being noticed and we like interaction – this is part of the reason why even multimillion global companies like Starbucks tell their staff to connect with each customer. The reasoning is – personal connections are valuable.

Independent merchants should leverage this. They have the advantage of a more manageable size and a flatter business structure, meaning they can spend an extra minute forming a meaningful connection with every single customer. Many indy stores have a fairly loyal customer base – connecting with them is the plug in the bucket. Make a connection and keep that alive to keep them coming back. Big brands rarely have the opportunity to do this. The brands have become bigger than the individuals working there and this in turn makes it hard for staff and customers to connect. A high number of staff on an unpredictable rotational means you rarely see the same people there, leading many customers to auto-respond ‘I’m only browsing’.

With smaller sized shops and fewer staff, there is great opportunity to connect with your customers, especially the regular ones. You may be doing this already as a natural result of seeing the same faces again and again – keep doing it. Get your staff to do it too. The extra minute you spend with a customer is likely to earn you a recommendation. That’s the best kind of marketing there is; it’s organic, positive word-of-mouth. By creating a social media presence you give these recommendations a target – and with the majority of us researching places online before we visit, this is well worth the (minimal) effort.

It can also give you great content to market your business. You might get a happy customer tweeting to you, or receive a nice comment on your Facebook page. It will also be a great way of getting customer feedback. Get people involved with your brand online and ask them to contribute. People love sharing their opinion and helping – and the threshold for doing so online is infinitely lower than face-to-face. It is also more convenient for the customer – we can all agree that we don’t mind helping a business we like, but in the morning or weekend rush it is a little bit inconvenient and any additional questions are likely to irritate more than instigate a proper response.

Give your brand social value for your customers and create that connection to plug the hole in the bucket.

Anyone working in sales, remotely or on the shop floor, deals with customers – it’s their job to sell and to assist the customer when he or she is looking to buy something. In shops people are hired as sales assistants, sales associates, salesmen, sales manager and so on. The job title very often reflect the focus of the management – the emphasis is on sales, selling, profit. As a recent staff-blunder (or Freudian-esque slip) showed us; big companies ask their staff to make the customer spend more. In this case – without naming and shaming – an additional 50p. Whilst it is a modest amount, it crystallises where the focus is. It is not on making the customer happy, listening to their needs or helping them – but on wrenching their pockets for pennies to drive profits. Huge companies may afford to neglect customer service on the shop floor – independent retailers cannot and should not. Read more