At a time when brands are looking to retain their staffs with incentivised schemes, Accentiv doesn’t want to stay behind. Mr Ashok M.S, COO justifies that only an employee’s satisfaction can guarantee efficiency.
Aadeetya Sriram (AS): Accentiv is a uniquely positioned solution provider, what is the core objective of the company?
Ashok M.S (AMS): Accentiv’, a part of Edenred, is an expert in rewards, recognition, incentives and loyalty solutions that can deliver multi-local and international end-to-end solutions from programme design to rewards fulfilment.
AS: Your services seem to be catering to different segments and sectors, could you elaborate on them?
AMS: Accentiv’ has three core areas of focus in terms of segments – Business to Business, Business to Customer and Business to Employees. We cater to a whole gamut of organisations in the BFSI, IT/ITES, retail, FMCG and hospitality sectors.
AS: Explain your client-base for varied solutions?
AMS: Our services include loyalty programme conceptualisation, managing the point’s engine, campaign creation and communication, analytics and rewards sourcing and fulfilment. We are India’s largest rewards solutions company. Our clients include the veritable who’s-who of the credit card industry (customer loyalty programs), IT companies (for channel loyalty programs), IT & ITES (employee rewards & recognition), Retail (customer loyalty programme).
AS: What is your understanding of the loyalty market in India? What are the challenges that the market faces in the country?
AMS: The loyalty market in India is growing and is reaching a mature state. However, most loyalty programmes offered in the country are still basic, offering points for value of purchase which can then be exchanged for in-store merchandise or redemption from a rewards catalogue. The key challenges that the market faces in the country are: automation at point of sale which is still first generation and resultant lack of access to internet. KYC (Know your customer) is still a huge challenge as customer acquisition strategies leave much to be desired capturing only name and phone number and companies are not willing to enrich the database with key profile information. Most programmes which are not well structured do not see the kind of ROI that is required to stay invested in the loyalty programme.
AS: What is the need for effective loyalty marketing programmes to build long lasting relationship with consumers in retail space? How effective are they for ramping up sales?
AMS: Since the frequency of purchase in retail is high, it lends itself well for loyalty programmes. With the overall buying experience offered by most retail stores beginning to be on par, well structured and well communicated loyalty programmes can be the key differentiator. It has been demonstrated that the average ticket size of a loyalty program member can be 30% to 50% more than that of a customer who is not a member of the loyalty program. The example of the loyalty program of Tesco in UK demonstrates the effectiveness of leveraging data and segmented communication for achieving a high market share. Programmes like Shopper’s Stop First Citizens Club in India have been trailblazers demonstrating high penetration amongst the customer base and showing significant repeat buying behaviour.
AS: Who are your clients in India? How much retail is contributing to the total turnover generated?
AMS: Some of our key clients in India include Citibank, HDFC Bank, VanHeusen, Tommy Hilfiger, Louis Philippe, HDFC Life, etc. Most of the points issued through the credit card programmes are also those for purchases in a retail store. However, retail alone will constitute around 10% of the turnover generated.
AS: How does Accentiv design its solutions especially for the retail sector? How is the customisation undertaken?
AMS: Accentiv’ has a very powerful loyalty platform and a very user friendly analytical platform. Accentiv’ also has a number of unique rewards solutions to cater to different needs of the corporates. The solution design for the retail sector is customised to individual clients based on their customer profile. The underlying principle of the design is to make the programme attractive to a wide spectrum of customers at the points earning level and differentiating the higher value customers in terms of the privileges and bonus points. The customisation is also done in the form of more personalised and increased frequency of communication for high value customers. Based on the transaction patterns analysed through the tool, customised offers and campaigns are designed and executed for multiple customer segments.
AS: What are the latest formats in loyalty programs doing the rounds in the country? What does future hold for such innovative catchment schemes?
AMS: The latest format in loyalty programmes doing the rounds in the country is the coalition loyalty programme where multiple brands with identical customer segments offer points to the customers, thereby enabling them to accumulate more points and redeem the items of their desire faster. The growth of national chains in various categories of retailing includes branded shops and fast food chains that will facilitate the launch of coalition loyalty programs. India has the potential for 3 to 4 large coalition programs. One key issue that coalition programs need to tackle before they become widely accepted is the issue of the ownership of the customer and transactional database.
AS: Could you please explain Accentiv's travel voucher concept?
AMS: Accentiv’s travel voucher gives the customer the freedom of choosing his or her travel destination and package with a lot of customised options, thereby giving them a memorable travel experience. In most cases travel rewards are for pre-determined destinations and the choice of hotels, airlines and schedule are fixed in the package, not allowing the customers any leeway to go off track to a tourist attraction that they would want to explore more or providing a unique experience that they would cherish.
We also offer ticket compliments holiday gift vouchers which is India’s first multi-brand holiday voucher of SOTC, Thomas Cook etc.
AS: How is Accentiv looking at the Indian loyalty market? What sort of competition are you facing in this space? What's the USP of your services?
AMS: The Indian loyalty market is at a tipping point where the programmes are likely to get larger and more complex, integrating data analytics into the program design for greater effectiveness.
Accentiv’s USP has been the deep understanding that we have of the Indian loyalty and rewards market having been here for more than a decade in our earlier avatars of Royal Images Direct and Surfgold, our strong experience in working with a whole range of clients, our technology solutions, our unique rewards sourcing and fulfilment capabilities where we are the best in the country today. We are also a global company and leverage our learning from some of the advanced markets as well.
AS: What are your future plans?
AMS: Accentiv’s future plans include growing the employee rewards and recognition space, looking at coalition loyalty programme options especially for the small and medium sized retailers, provide rewards using the mobile platform and expand geographically to some of the next tier cities and exploring opportunities in a couple of neighbouring countries to offer our services.
AS: What are your initiatives for the digitalisation of loyalty programmes?
AMS: Accentiv’ is actively pursuing a strategy of going digital. We intend to offer e and m vouchers for redemption for a variety of brands.