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eMart Engagement Blog

Post by Team eMart

Semtember 8, 2014

Customer data: A Quintessential tool to drive loyalty

Some excerpts from the interview of Srikanth Chunduri with Adgully

Adgully: How robust is the loyalty service industry and what market share does eMart Solutions hold among the total industry size?

SC: We estimate that the current size of the loyalty industry in India is valued around 12000cr (~$2Bn) and poised to double in the next three years. India is currently the third largest economy in the world with a growing middle class of more than half a billion people with increasing disposable income and higher purchasing power. This increase has given rise to consumerism. The economy has also witnessed sound growth in sectors like Retail, BFSI, Hospitality, Automobiles, Realty etc. One look at the growth numbers of these sectors and you can see where the loyalty market is headed in the coming years. Having said this, the loyalty landscape is emerging as an exciting space. The market is maturing with more brands now looking to move beyond promotions, but are looking to engage with their stakeholders at a much greater level. Today, we see programmes spanning every industry, from soaps to cables. eMart Solutions is today amongst top five loyalty services providers in India and is poised to grow and expand aggressively, both, domestically and Internationally. eMart today impacts a business of over INR 10,000 crore in India.

Adgully: Share with us the strategies that have made you reach the position that you are in?

SC: eMart Solutions was founded in 2009 and is today one of the very few India based technology product organisation. Starting our firm as a tactile procurement partner to various brands, we very early realized that the multitude of touchpoints generated across multiple brands were either left unmonitored or seen in isolation. Most marketing organizations were spending valuable dollars to run multiple campaigns, without creating any asset base for themselves. We recognized the potential of enabling the brands to get access to the multi-channel touchpoints created by the consumers, and empowering them with cross sectional information about the data collected at various interfaces.

What makes eMart Solutions a unique player, is our ability to use technology to deliver loyalty and customer engagement programs which help marketers and brand managers with insights and management dashboards, not only enabling critical functions, but also driving incremental revenues. FirstHiveTM, Emart Solutions' proprietary on demand SaaS based multi-channel technology platform delivers ROI to some of the world's largest brands on their loyalty programs. eMart Solutions has helped several Fortune 500 and Forbes 2000 companies create and manage large loyalty and customer/channel engagement programs, while delivering measurable ROI. Cross sector focus and expertise of the company places it in a unique position where it leverages cross sector learnings to pollinate ideas and improvements in consumer/ channel loyalty or engagement programs.

Adgully: Being in the Loyalty service industry how do you market and promote your company?

SC: We believe that before a brand can expect loyalty of a stakeholder, it first needs to demonstrate loyalty towards them. Being innovative is the key to every loyalty program. Moving beyond transactional loyalty, we enable our clients build an emotional loyalty, the loyalty that entices people towards brand stickiness. When a customer is emotionally loyal, he or she will stay with that brand even when there is a similar or convenient alternative available, because the experience is rewarding.

And this is something that is apparent based on the number of referral leads and renewals we get from our existing client base.

Customer centricity is coupled by insights to design unique and innovative experience.  When you have data around consumer behaviour, it not only helps in coming out with targeted innovative programmes, but also means understanding life stages of the data you have. You wouldn't send the same message to an individual while he was in college as you would when he has his first job. You wouldn't communicate with a high performance and an average performer in a program the same way, just because they belong to the same demographic. That is critical. We at eMart Solutions have designed unique customer engagement programs that foster loyalty. Some of our programs have won awards at national and international forums.

Adgully: The loyalty service industry seems to be a complex one, how do you deal with competition?

SC: The market is increasingly getting heated up with multitude of loyalty programs, but the long-term success of any loyalty program depends on how well the programme engages the finer sensibilities of the customer, and makes him or her feel part of an elevating experience. To deliver that technology plays a crucial role as both a loyalty platform and communications channel, going forward not just in the major metros but also the smaller towns.

Our engagement model is another aspect that enables us to outpace competition. We engage with the clients on the basis of partaking their responsibility of success. This has helped build our credibility among several Fortune 500 clients of ours, and helped lay the platform for the exponential growth targets we have set for the organization.

Adgully: What role does technology play in enhancing the growth of the loyalty service industry?

SC: We believe that technology is the going to be the game changer in the loyalty industry. The ability to leverage technology to deliver hyper personalized engagement programs is the key to brand loyalty. The use of data analytics tools to drive relevant programs to the relevant audience will play a critical role in the success of any program. 

With the increasing number of touchpoints that are getting generated by each consumer across physical stores, smartphones, voice, social media, etc., brands need to ensure that they are able to follow the consumer footprint across all channels of communication. This is critical in ensuring that the brand messaging is consistent across all channels, and not perceived as disparate bits of broadcast communication.

For this, you need significantly strong and stable technology platform together with a strong network, database management, security and infrastructure to track all these. When you are going to the scale of a billion, you need significant database to put in all these records. FirstHiveTM, our patented SaaS based multi-channel technology platform enables marketers and brand managers with insights enabling critical functions and incremental revenue.

Adgully: Which are the geographies that bring in more trust and business to loyalty services like eMart Solutions?

SC: Loyalty is universal, but the engagement programs differ according to the geography, product or service itself. In consumer loyalty programs, it tends to be most relevant when either the frequency of purchase is high, or the value. Theoretically, all industries across FMCG, tyres, auto lubricants, electrical wires and switches, retail, construction, travel, and hospitality can benefit by deploying some loyalty frameworks across their business. However, certain industries have matured faster than others, with respect to acceptance of loyalty solutions, like travel, hospitality, and retail. There have also been interesting use cases in some low involvement sectors wherein although the end user might be a consumer who would buy the product or service once or twice in his life time, his purchase decision is largely influenced by the seller or an intermediary. Loyalty will increasingly become a crucial differentiator in the era of intense competition

For example, recently we ran a loyalty program for one of the largest cables company in India. In a low involvement sector like electrical wires, although you may be the one who is paying for the wires and cables in your home, very rarely would you be the one who decides the brand of wires to use. Typically, this decision will be influenced by either the retailer or more importantly, the electrician. Our program aimed to enable the brand to engage with this influencer set. The program was able to generate a 15X activation for the client and a 16X increment in program redemptions, which demonstrated program engagement.