Customer loyalty plays a very crucial role in strengthening a business. Today, the customer sentiment is constantly shifting. Experts say that businesses, which generate a great repeat business are the ones who can boost their ROI and profitability by working more towards retaining their customers. Loyalie, which is an advanced marketing platform is a one stop shop for every marketing solution for an offline business and customers. In this exclusive conversation with Business2Business, Akhil Saraf, CEO, Loyalie shares on how his brand has evolved and how are they helping the offline businesses:
The entrepreneurial journey: Akhil shares, “Loyalie is a SaaS provider for a business' loyalty and referral management. I thought of building such a paltfrom when I myself felt cheated once when my favourite café had a coupon deal running. I was a regular there, but was not getting any incentive. When I entered this industry and understood how businesses engage with and market to customers, I realized that online businesses had an upper hand in this. Word of mouth marketing in the form of referral programs was a big dela for them. However, physical businesses found it extremely hard to organize a referral program because tracking who's referred whom was an unbelievable task.”
USP’s of Loyalie: Sharing more on the USP’s of Loyalie, Akhil says, “The USP of my business is our AER platform - Acquire, Engage & Retain. These are the 3 core elements of a customer's life cycle and we have a seamlessly-integrated product that allows them to work together.” He adds, “Now we have opened up our platforms for other companies to integrate with. One specific partnership we will be having eCommerce-ERP-CRM-AER-EDM integrated on a very deep level where businesses will be saving hundreds of man hours a week across all departments.”
Revenue model and registered users: “We have a subscription based revenue model for our business. We charge our clients a yearly subscription fee for availing our services. We do not have a standardized pricing model and instead the pricing is purely dependant on the clients’ specific needs.
We have above 26,483 users (Year Book Figure + 1000 to show progress) and we have served over 260 clients. (251 Year Book Figure + 9 to show progress),” shares Akhil.
Perception about loyalty: Different brands have different perception about loyalty. On this Akhil shares, “Loyalty has been in existence in different forms throughout history. Whether it was in the form of your local grocery shop owner throwing in a few additional lemons with your daily purchases, or whether it was in the form of a physical loyalty card. This helps explain that while different brands might have different perceptions about loyalty, they all would probably agree that it is important and relevant to run a successful business even today.” He adds, “We at Loyalie have remained true to this same concept whilst ensuring that we keep up with the times and demands of today’s digital world.”
Challenges: Sharing the major challenges that he faced while inception, Akhil shares, “We started our business initially in Kolkata where the ‘start-up’ culture was just setting in. It was very hard to find the right talent to work for a new company. However, that changed with scale. We were still left with a large problem that our target customers (independent restaurant or store owners) would find it hard to differentiate a loyalty program against a coupon platform or a search and discovery platform. Eventually, being a bootstrapped business, we didn't have the resources to educate a market on the benefits of loyalty and therefore moved to larger corporate’ where we have a ready market.”
Future plans: Sharing more on the next locations where they are looking at to expand Akhil shares, “We are currently operating in Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. We are looking to expand to more cities within India at the same time we are working towards expanding our services to other foreign countries. As our service can be availed by any business we are looking to enter more market segments beyond the ones we are presently serving.
Our app is getting a major rebuild, via which more key features would be introduced to our merchants and this in turn would help strengthen its functionality while simplifying its ease of use.”
Any investors/advisors on-board: “As of now, we are functioning entirely on a bootstrapped model. We will look for funding and investors once we have attained more of our set objectives,” shares Akhil.
Advice to entrepreneurs: Don’t chase the funding, chase the bottom line. It's the only way you can be local and build a global company.