Sure Loyalty chasing deal to become regional player
Sure Loyalty Solutions, a five-year-old rewards card company, has two big projects in the pipeline, one of which will also see it entering new markets in the Caribbean.
Though General Manager Dexter Tulloch held back the names of the prospective partners, he told Gleaner Business that those deals should see Sure Loyalty expanding its operations across Jamaica.
One prospective partner has a footprint across at least 10 Caribbean markets, Tulloch said, while noting that deal would catapult Sure Loyalty overseas. In its home market, the company's growth plan includes more back-office services to clients.
Sure Loyalty does not offer its own rewards card, but provides merchants with loyalty card and consultancy services through a network of partnerships with tech companies like Advanced Integrated Systems (AIS).
One of its most recent projects was with the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), which, last year, launched the JSE Loyalty Card for investors on the local stock market.
That deal opened up a prospective market of 130,000 clients, Tulloch told Gleaner Business.
Since its first pilot in 2012, the fairly new entrant to the loyalty card market has added Sangster's Book Stores, Tile City and Key Insurance, among others, to its client list.
To date, Sure Loyalty handles the loyalty accounts of some 170,000 clients on behalf of local merchants, in addition to those under the JSE's programme.
Tulloch's foray into the loyalty card arena began at Magna Rewards, where he handled that company's largest regional market - Jamaica - as business development manager.
"That's where I was first exposed to loyalty and fell in love with it. That's where I actually got an appreciation for the loyalty landscape, seeing that there was a big need for loyalty programmes and there were no other companies locally that could provide that service," Tulloch said.
With some 15 years' experience in sales and marketing at Magna, the latter of which he spent specialising in loyalty programmes, Tulloch decided to venture out on his own.
Sure Loyalty was started with seed money from family members, as well as his own savings five years ago, the entrepreneur said. The company is carving a name for itself as more companies adopt rewards systems as a marketing strategy to snag and retain clients.
"Everybody is embracing loyalty programmes," Tulloch said.
EYES BACK-OFFICE SUPPORT
Similar to the service it offered the JSE, Tulloch said Sure Loyalty plans to launch more into back-office support for companies that want to offer propriety loyalty programmes, but lack the experience or expertise.
The partnership with AIS allows this expansion, he said.
"Our business model is to partner with the experts along our service delivery chain. AIS has a complement of well over 40 people at our disposal based on the nature of the partnership. They are constantly developing the software to ensure that our technology doesn't become redundant and developing other features and functions that we can introduce to the market to better the product," he said.
Sure Loyalty's business model departs from the traditional practice of mailing rewards vouchers to clients. Instead, bearers are contracted to hand deliver the vouchers in pressure-sealed envelopes to clients.
The new way is both quicker and less costly, said the company founder.
"We realised the shortcomings of other programmes, so we went through great effort to close those gaps," said Tulloch.
"The regular post costs $60 for stamps plus envelopes plus insert. Surprisingly, the bearers are much cheaper."
The distribution method also gives merchants additional opportunities to advertise their services on the envelopes, he said, adding that customers get their reward vouchers with a mini statement detailing their transactions in the package.
Data mining also allows the company to offer merchants the chance to learn even more about their clients in an effort to better target these customers.
"So, let's say you normally go to a certain merchant once every month, and then, for some reason, you start shopping at the competitor. The only way the merchant would know that you have stopped coming is through a managed loyalty programme," he said.
"The data would show that you haven't been there in the last two to three months and, based on that information, they can send you some communication offering you, for example, 10 per cent off your next purchase," he said, explaining the company's ability to track customers.
Since Sure Loyalty's services are largely driven by technology, it employs a small workforce and contracts individuals as needed, the businessman said.
As for the deals he is working to close, Tulloch said not only will the company have more reach, but the cost to merchants to participate in the programme will also be reduced due to the expected increase in business volume.