Christian A. Bacher, Managing Partner
Although loyalty programs have proven to be effective means for retaining customers as well as making the first impression, implementing them, have become challenging for merchants owing to e-commerce enablement, the emergence of competitive brands, and heightened consumer expectations. Distributing coupons physically aren’t as effective as they used to be since customers seek speedy and convenient “redeem anywhere” rewards. To this end, Austria-based Smart Engine Group, with its cloud-based solution, helps businesses grow and retain customers by enabling them to roll out flexible and holistic loyalty programs. “We believe in adding value to the payment process through its integration with loyalty rewards. Our platform enables consumers to seamlessly redeem rewards when he or she pays irrespective of the payment channel,” says Christian A. Bacher, managing partner of the company. This whole concept of linking loyalty programs to payment cards allows consumers to carry rewards effortlessly, which drives more revenue to merchants.
At the time of its inception eight years back, Smart Engine Group offered a platform to improve the relationship between banks and merchants by enabling the latter to reward customers who would make payment through the card of the partner bank.
Our platform enables consumers to seamlessly redeem rewards when he or she pays irrespective of the payment channel
Also, the platform concentrated on accumulating and analyzing card payment data to understand purchasers’ preferences and shopping needs and applied predictive analytics to channelize offers appropriately. Bacher says, “throughout our development, we understood large international merchants don’t prefer to partner with one national bank; instead, they want to run their own loyalty initiatives. So, we extended our platform and started to integrate with all kind of merchant channels.” Today, moving beyond analysis of payment data, Smart Engine Group’s platform integrates with POS systems enabling merchants to couple instant rewards with product purchases. As an integrated marketing technology solution, the platform also offers several marketing tools for email campaigns or sending out newsletters.
With years of experience in this field, Smart Engine Group has observed that often, one merchant dealing with several brands tend to run isolated loyalty programs that fail to meet the expectation of a purchaser. To tackle this, the company clubs rewards across brands and allows the analysis of consumer data on the platform to render rewards meaningfully, which ultimately enhances the conversion-rate.
Most importantly, the platform empowers merchant to organize and track loyalty programs digitally instead of paper-based manual methods, which plays a significant role in forming a sound customer-contentment rating.
Merchants collect a considerable amount of purchase data, but often, they are not able to tap insights from it in a proper way to formulate effective and compelling rewards. Through appropriate analytics and with a keen eye on data privacy legislation, the platform can offer real-time rewards by leveraging geolocation and data on customer preferences and behavior. Also, the platform enables consumers to redeem rewards between their merchants’ online and offline outlets in a seamless manner. In effect, the multi geographical platform from Smart Engine Group builds one global program instead of several standalone loyalty programs.
Bacher throws light on how, in the upcoming days, the loyalty management landscape will evolve. “Banks are realizing that they must make a difference to retain customers. So, they give out point rewards for availing their services which one can redeem at any merchant who has partnered with the bank. We have specific plans to grow the company in tune to these needs,” he concludes.