My Startup World speaks to Mujeeb Rahman, the COO of Bebuzzd, to know more about the company and the customer loyalty program industry in the region
Tell us about Bebuzzd.
Bebuzzd is a customer engagement and retention platform. We started as a loyalty program, but over time we saw us being more of a customer engagement and retention platform. We are also a marketplace loyalty program and a neighborhood loyalty program, all added into one platform. The way we are different is that each company that partners with us will have their own space in the program and their loyalty program will be setup as per their preferences.
Which markets do you currently focus on?
We focus on all major industry verticals that offer services and products. These could be supermarkets, hypermarkets, salons, hotels, restaurants, and so on. We work with brands and companies that want to retain their valued customers by offering something unique. We started in 2011 and at that time we were engaged in market studies and so on. Gradually we built up the platform, you can see today.
What is your company’s plan for 2018?
In 2018, we are going to launch a payment platform through our app. Consumers can use the app to get the deals from outlets we tie up with and also sign up for loyalty programs from our partners. In addition, users will be able to recharge services such as Salik, mobile top ups, recharge their subscriptions to multiple services, and so on.
We are currently speaking to partners to launch this service. We have already signed a deal with Mashreq Bank and we are speaking to RTA to integrate their top up services with our app for recharging Nol cards, for instance. The testing of the new service is complete and we will do a soft launch in the next three months.
What is your target audience?
We initially started with small and medium retailers such as salons and so on. We then gradually started adding restaurants and hotels. Today, around 60 percent of our business comes from the services industry. We recently signed a deal with the cosmetics company called Exquisite who have around 30+ outlets in major shopping malls in the local market. This deal was done for a specially tailored loyalty program.
Many times loyalty programs as used as a scheme by companies to increase prices of frequently purchased products. Do loyalty programs really work the way they were intended to work in the first place?
There are many companies on the market that use the customer data captured through loyalty programs to increase prices, position products in specific areas of the store, provide discounts on slow moving goods and so on. Our customer loyalty program in fact works the other way. It helps both companies and their customers to have a better buying experience.
We do not share customer details with multiple partners. It’s all an opt-in procedure – so if a customer signed up for a particular loyalty program, his/her details will only be visible to that particular company. For companies it is always better to retain customers by offering better rates and better products and that is what Bebuzzd helps them with.