For those who enjoy shopping, collecting reward points and redeeming them at various occasions can be as exciting as the experience of shopping itself. There’s a catch though. Once you enroll in a loyalty program, you’re usually given a plastic card. The more no. of loyalty programs you become a part of, the more no. of loyalty cards you need to carry.
While discussing the hassle of carrying and managing a hundreds of different loyalty cards, Mumbai-based husband and wife duo, Kunal and Urvi Mehta stumbled upon the idea of a single loyalty wallet, InLoyal which will allow people to carry all their loyalty cards in phone.
Since 2009, Kunal and Urvi were running SalenOffers, where they managed ‘customer delight programs’ for several companies like MasterCard, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Hindustan Times, Airtel and others. One day, while waiting for a meeting with MasterCard, they started discussing about the gap that exists between customers and the loyalty programs they are supposed to manage. They realised that a platform which brings all the loyalty cards under one umbrella can help in managing the programs more efficiently. It was time for loyalty programs to shift its medium.
Thus, a discussion before the Mastercard’s meeting led to the inception of InLoyal.
InLoyal Helps In Shedding The Weight From Your Wallet
According to Kunal Mehta, the best way for any brand to run a loyalty program is through mobile. But a lot of retailers still lack the prowess when it comes to building and offering the said technology.
This is where InLoyal helps retailers to create and manage loyalty programs, integrate them with store-fronts and host them on cloud. The app also lets the retailer migrate an existing loyalty onto the platform with all data and dynamics remaining as it is.
How It Works
Working on the simple mantra of ‘leave your plastic cards’ at home, InLoyal encourages shoppers to benefit from all the deals, discounts, and other rewards that brands are forever offering to their customers.
InLoyal essentially works as a mobile loyalty wallet. It transforms all the loyalty cards of an user into digital ones through an unified app. Users can keep a count on all the points gathered through each and every program and can track what offers are available. It also allows the customers to redeem reward points from merchants who have integrated with InLoyal and enables them to buy a product/service of their choice directly from their phone.
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Functioning as mobile shopping enabler, InLoyal app (available on iOS & Android) lets customers virtually check-in to a store of their choice via Facebook, interact with brands on Twitter and get their queries answered in-app.
For retailers, it acts as a complete customer relationship management (CRM) platform, allowing them to engage with their customers.
The Mumbai-based startup, working with a 11 member team has already served about 40000 customers.
Monetisation And Funding
The startup is currently working on a retainer model. Merchants are charged a fixed commission for managing their programs on InLoyal. However, Kunal says that the company is open to exploring other revenue models. They will be introducing new models soon.
Till date, the company has had loyalty sales worth INR 850 Mn recorded on the platform. It currently manages a pool of 45 Mn reward points with over 8.7 Mn points being rewarded with a redemption rate of over 50%.
The loyalty market size in India is currently about $7.8 Bn (around INR 5000 Cr) and experts are of the opinion that it is going to increase at a rapid pace. The total no. of loyalty program members in India are estimated at around 35 Mn. With its comprehensive offering of a mobile loyalty wallet, InLoyal is hoping to leave a large footprint in this billion dollar industry.
InLoyal, which is currently bootstrapped, faces competition from startups like m’loyal, an app by Noida-based startup MobiQuest Mobile Technologies. It claims to handle 70 plus brands, 10000 stores, 7 Mn consumers and around $16.7 Mn (INR 1 Bn) worth of purchases.
Bangalore-based Qwikcliver is also operates in this space. It provides backend technology for the gift card business of multiple retailers like Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Westside and Croma. In Late 2014, it was reported that ecommerce giant Amazon will be buying a stake in the gift card tech startup. In 2015, the company claims to have generated 2 Mn sales transactions of plastic physical gift cards, virtual gift cards and mobile-based gift cards in the month of March.
In March, Mobikwik, the mobile wallet service provider partnered with Payback, another loyalty program provider to enable Mobikwik users to earn loyalty points and allow Payback users to redeem their points with Mobikwik purchases.
Previously, Junglee, Amazon India’s price comparison portal had introduced gift cards on its platform.
While competitors are crawling all over the rapidly growing market, Kunal is optimistic about the product that InLoyal has to offer. According to him, it’s the first player in the market where retailers can create their own unique white-labelled loyalty programs. In addition, it provides the retailers and their customers with a platform where they can connect and engage without any hassle.
Here’s a quick fact, a whopping 75% of Shopper’s Stop’s customers comes from its famed loyalty program. A promising number no doubt. But here’s the catch! Loyalty programs are yet to gain a solid ground in India even though international retailers are already reaping the benefits of their programs.
While most brands are running their own programs, the Indian customer still remains skeptical about it.
However, Kunal is of the opinion that what sets InLoyal apart from the rest is the fact that it also offers the customers a space to connect with the brand/store of their choice. “We are in the customer delight space”, he says, and with this offering InLoyal aims to help brands move away from the current state of disintegrated activities and bring all CRM and loyalty related functions on an unified platform.