Mujeeb Rahman, the COO of Bebuzzd, speaks to My Startup World about the company’s plans for 2018
What were the major technology and market trends in 2017?
In the digital age where the only constant is change, keeping the customers, you’ve got is critical for success. To keep customers both happy and engaged many brands have turned to customer loyalty programs. Evolved technologies have been creating enormous opportunities for brands to engage consumers with their loyalty platforms in unique ways, specially tailored to modern preferences.
These technologies have also solved specific challenges that some of the older mechanics faced– such as receipt processing. This year, brands have allocated even more of their budgets to loyalty programs.
With mobile, brands have a massive opportunity to create a loyalty program that’s not only easy but also seamless. This has created an opportunity that surprises and delights customers. For brands and marketers to be successful, it is imperative that they focus on the consumer, creating meaningful moments that touch on the emotional ties of the customers, in both the traditional and new-to-market channels.
In support, there has been a need for innovative technology to help streamline the new channels, partnerships, and data flowing into the loyalty program. It isn’t about targeted marketing, but rather one-to-moment marketing and creating ubiquitous ways to collect valuable consumer data.
In the future, customer-obsessed brands who embrace true Connected Loyalty, will come out ahead of the game.
Do you believe any technology buzzwords from 2017 will really kick-off in 2018?
The pace of change is accelerating at a dizzying rate, with profound implications for the way we work, play and communicate. It’s astounding to have the power to retrieve almost any information and communicate in a thousand different ways using a device that fits in your pocket. There’s always something new on the horizon, and we can’t help but wait and wonder what technological marvels are coming next.
Mobile devices have been slowly adding technology into our daily lives. It’s rare to see anyone without a smartphone at any given time, giving us access to practically infinite information in the real-world. We already have things like site-to-store purchasing, enabling online customers to buy and pick up products in a physical retail location, but the next level will be even further integrations between physical and digital realities.
Brands will be investing more in Loyalty programs to help them retain customers. This concept has been slowly picking up trend and is said to be big in 2018. With Loyalty program apps going full force, the customers would have a lot of options to choose from in terms of their favourite F & B outlets or spas.
How has 2017 been for your company and business?
It has been a promising year for the brand with the launch of our new feature BebuzzdGo. This feature gives users the ability to easily earn or redeem their gained points in seconds through their mobile. ‘BebuzzdGo’ serves as a welcome addition to the widely popular customer loyalty application–giving its base of 95,000 users easy access to a UAE retail partner network of over 600 outlets, which range from restaurants, salons, spas, medical clinics, Super markets and pet shops. Bebuzzd is currently the only UAE-based network that gives 20 to 30 per cent back to customers of the loyalty app’s partners.
What were your major achievements in the year 2017?
Bebuzzd won the VISA’s Everywhere Initiative for MENA region, a global program designed to encourage the development of the next big thing in payments. This is the first time VISA has rolled out its Everywhere Initiative in the MENA region. The brand won the “Loyalty Challenge” and a $25,000 prize and was chosen from among 190 entrants from the wider MENA, Levant region, and Pakistan.
Did you enter / expand your operations into new markets in 2017?
Yes, In 2017 we had expanded our Operations to financial institutions and Supermarkets who were struggling to setup a loyalty & rewards platform for their customers. These businesses work on volume based business and not typically reward their customers and we were able to offer a unique plat form which allows these businesses to reward customers.
How was the technology market in general in 2017? Was there any increase in business?
The year 2017, has been a great year for the industry, keeping in mind the technological advancements which have taken place. This year has been a foundation building for intelligent technology making its presence felt across every sector. Personalisation was the name of the game in 2017 with increased focus on individualised value, loyalty members can expect more flexibility, earning opportunities and better options for redeeming points.
How do you foresee opportunities for 2018?
The Mobile app industry will influence the popularity of all futuristic solutions. Correctly chosen app monetization model will increase the loyalty among the target customers, meanwhile, the wrong monetization strategy may make them even to delete your app. Today we will find out how to make money from apps and what mobile app monetization strategy to prefer in 2018 to stay in the win.
Marketers are leveraging Internet of Things by using connected devices like wearables, beacons and wireless sensors to drive loyalty through relevance, personalization and timeliness. Wearables, such as smart watches and fitness bands, point not only to the increasing number of wallets and payment options, but also to the potential of loyalty programs to reward ideal behaviours. This will lead to an increase in the numbers and in turn will help
What sort of strategies do you have in place for 2018?
We will be launching our payment wallet which will give our customers an opportunity to pay their bills through the wallet and get rewarded. Unlike other mobile payment platforms, BPay would allow customers to pay for their regular spend in outlets, utility bills and many more and get instant cash back while they get access to infinite deals. BCorp is another vertical which will be offered to mid size corporates to reward their employees and clients through Bebuzzd platform. We are in advanced stage of talks with few large semi government entities and financial institutions to offer our rewards platform to their customers & clients.
Will you be investing more in terms of expansion of your market reach, channel programs and general marketing?
Our IT team is based in our Dubai office is our strength and the team is currently working of two prestigious projects, Adaptive Learning Screen and Intelligent Manager App. ALS is a unique feature which industry Giants like Google & Facebook does where relevant content is made available for users based on their behaviours. The backend will monitor customer behaviours on real time bases and offer them relevant content to their home screen.
Intelligent Manager App (IMA) is another project which will allow Merchant Owners / Outlet Managers to setup their Loyalty & Rewards based on their customers choice. This feature will enable Owners / Managers to setup how their loyalty & rewards should behave based on customers needs. The system once setup will send out personalised messages to customers for their special occasions and based on their spending pattern without any physical action from the Owner / Manager.
In first quarter of 2018 Bebuzzd will launch channel partner to GCC & Mena region. Yes, we are looking for expansion opportunities in GCC and MENA region.