LONDON: Tech start-up Yoyo Wallet, a cashless payment app, has built up 700,000 registered users since its launch in 2013, in large part because of its innovative approach to customer loyalty.

Key to its success has been the recognition that it shouldn’t be left to consumers to collect their own loyalty points, but instead the responsibility should rest with the vendor, who can automatically update consumers when they use the app.

Apart from the advantages of speed and convenience, automation overcomes that annoyance many consumers feel when they realise they’ve lost or damaged their paper or plastic loyalty card.

“All the onus from loyalty is on the consumer to remember [to collect]. There is a lot of pain felt by people that have forgotten to collect their points, or in the case of these paper stamp cards, they lose them,” said Michael Rolph, CEO of Yoyo Wallet, in an interview with Marketing Week.

“And loyalty programmes are just really not very smart. If you ask retailers why they do it, they do it because someone else is doing it. It’s not really generating any insight,” he said.

Indeed, the app’s ability to deliver insights into consumer purchasing habits has been another reason for its success because it has helped retailers to engage more with their customers.

And with GDPR looming – the European Union’s strict new rules on protecting consumer data that comes into force in May 2018 – another advantage is that Yoyo Wallet anonymises customers while still identifying them.

“Even though retailers can get to know you as a customer, they are doing that through your behaviour and your preferences as opposed to your personal and financial information,” Rolph said.

“You don’t need to know my name or phone number if what you know about me is that I’m the type of guy who will come in before 10am and spend around £5.”

Looking ahead, the company plans to expand into the financial services sector, taking advantage of the Open Banking directive, which from mid-January 2018 will require the nine largest UK banks to give third parties access to their current account data.

“We will be one of the first to have a license to operate within the Open Banking framework and can then provide retailer loyalty into banking apps,” Rolph explained.

“We’re able to automate a loyalty and reward experience on behalf of the consumer in a way that you don’t have to do anything for it. You transact as you normally would, and you’ll be told by your bank about the offers or stamps you’re unlocking.”

Sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by WARC staff