Exclusive interview with Massimo Sirolla, CEO and Founder of Loyalzoo. Loyalzoo is one of the loyalty apps on AEVI App Marketplace, its convenience combined with the company’s knowledge on small retailers’ needs has already had great success with forward-looking merchant payment solution providers.
In this episode we discuss everything loyalty, what merchants want and the art of constantly improving app functionalities as their needs and those of their customers evolves. It also covers Loyalzoo’s experience from launching an app to reaching a global sales channel via working with merchant payment solution providers. Sit back, relax and enjoy this interview to find out the company success, motives and experience in empowering small to medium, brick and mortar merchants to compete in the digital era.
Loyalzoo chats “App-y” Customers
Can you tell us a bit about you, your background?
I have had a bit of an unusual upbringing, being Italian but raised by an expat father. By the age I left school I had already lived in 6 different cities in 3 different countries in Europe and Asia. So I tend to see things from many different angles.
After earning a master’s degree in Engineering, I became an expatriate myself, and worked 19 years in the financial solutions sector, basically selling software to retail banks. In 2013 I had lived in London for 6 years, and decided to setup a tech company myself.
Why did you start Loyalzoo?
I saw how the loyalty programmes of large retailers and restaurant chains were getting increasingly sophisticated and tech based, and noticed a big contrast in the independent retail sector. Small retailers are what make our cities and towns cozy and charming, yet they often struggle to compete against larger competitors. Giving them the ability to run a loyalty program as effective as (or more than) those run by large chains is a step in the right direction, and one I felt I could help with. On a personal level, I had always wanted to found my own business, and felt this was the right opportunity based on my skills.
How does loyalty improve the merchant life?
Loyalty programs are run for different reasons by different retailers. Large retailers run them to get to know their customers, and understand their preferences.
Small retailers on the other hand, already know their customers, they generally are present in the store, so they run loyalty programs to increase revenue, or average spend per customer. On this front, loyalty programs do really work. Customers spend up to twice as much when their points balance is close to a reward, and we see average spend increase by 10-30% across merchants using Loyalzoo to run their loyalty program.
How has loyalty evolved since you started?
When we started everything seemed to converge around mobile apps, until we realised that consumers are not keen to download apps on their phone, especially while they are shopping. We also realised that merchants found it hard to ask customers to download an app to be part of their loyalty program. We certainly learned a lot from those experiences, and we changed the product to be more POS centric, and not reliant on consumers downloading an app. This and many other tweaks have changed our proposition over time, and our growth eventually started to pick up pace 🙂
What do you think is the future?
I believe that commerce is moving more and more towards subscriptions. “Pay $40/month and get unlimited car washes”, “Pay $100/month for unlimited blow drys”, “Pay $50/month to be part of a wine club at your favourite restaurant and get free wine whenever you dine there”, or “Pay $30/week to get free lunches Monday to Friday”. I believe recurring revenues are the future of commerce, and Amazon’s own loyalty program, Amazon Prime, a program that people pay for monthly or annually, is already being imitated by several retailers.
Loyalzoo’s relationship with AEVI
Our team has very good chemistry with the people of AEVI. We have been working together on a couple of major partnerships, and everything has always been handled with fairness, professionalism, and openness.
How long have you been working with AEVI?
What attracted you to AEVI’s developer community?
The team at AEVI made it very easy to decide, and the support is second to none.
How would you evaluate your experience working with AEVI?
What has been your experience working on an AEVI-related project with an acquirer?
Many times we felt that our experience working with small retailers was an absolute asset to the project, and we have never hesitated to express our opinion and advice. There has always been a sense of openness dealing with these projects.
Why is it important to co-exist with other value-added apps on a payment device?
Because no company, not even the largest, can provide all the functionality necessary to a modern POS system, so opening to 3rd-party developers is the only way to offer all the functions required by modern retailers.
How is your app helping merchants improve the consumer experience in-store? What feedback have you received from merchants?
Customers love that they do not need to carry cards to be part of the retailer’s loyalty program, or download an app. They just use their phone number and voilà. Merchants really appreciate this, as the last thing they want is to bother their customers with “things to do”. With Loyalzoo they can keep the experience personal. For details, check here.
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