After the 2020 shakedown, businesses worldwide are aggressively seeking ways to bounce back to revenue and pivot towards the new normal. This recovery starts with keeping existing customers when there are few new ones to be had. Many businesses have been pushing their business model to explore possibilities to add to their core offerings and to keep their customers engaged with their brand.
The airline industry specifically, will see a very slow improvement when even if government controls were to be lifted only 9% of consumers ready for business travel and 31% feeling safe to travel for leisure. Adjusting to the changing consumer demands, they have pushed harder for new revenues in the eCommerce space for e.g., the launch of Avios eStore, SkyMiles Shopping by Delta, Qantas online mall, Rapid Rewards Shopping by Southwest airlines, to name a few. In fact, airlines including Delta and American have achieved multi $bn recapitalisations based on the revenue earning capacity of their loyalty programmes.
Meanwhile, global eCommerce sales surged to $29 trillion in 2020. The trend has been upwards for a host of established and emerging eCommerce solution providers helping both large brands and smaller retailers to ensure they have an effective online presence to meet the current market needs, for e.g., the open source eCommerce plugin for WordPress called WooCommerce has got 4M+ retail websites.
We at KornChain are also well placed to respond. As part of our strategic vision and planned product roadmap of 2020-21, we launched the new LoyalT Plugin for WooCommerce this month. This comes hot on the heels of the launch of the LoyalT Shopify plugin, the second largest in this area with 820,000+ retailers. We are therefore accelerating towards our strategic goal of building a global reward currency network for large businesses and SMEs to issue loyalty points, so that;
· For the first time, SMEs on WooCommerce and Shopify have a platform to purchase and issue loyalty currency of reputed brands or airmiles.
· Large businesses increase proliferation of their reward currency by reaching more consumers. For e.g., airmiles reaching the wallets of even the non-frequent fliers.
· Reward points are no longer the unused value in every customer’s wallet as we remove inertia and increase the earn and burn velocity.
Some of the biggest US airline loyalty programmes are valued at $20-30bn and generating a positive cash contribution of $2bn a year to prop their ailing main airline transport services. With air travel likely to take years to recover, these programmes are essential to the survival of their parent companies and selling more miles is the key goal. This makes eCommerce partner acquisition a priority for airlines, but it is a lengthy and expensive process for them to extend coverage beyond the big operators, sometimes, taking between 6-8 months to onboard a new partner that can potentially contribute to increase those $2bn in revenue in a year.
And for the retail sector, the ability to plug and play with zero integration effort and issue valuable loyalty points to their customers could be the difference between surviving, thriving or even dying, given the fierce competition for ecommerce spend. The SMEs with more structure in processes, likely to be operating on platforms like Amazon, eBay, Shopify and WooCommerce are well placed to start using LoyalT without any efforts on IT integration.
Our target therefore is to make LoyalT the critical bridge between the host of online retailers, via the major eCommerce platforms to the valuable opportunity of issuing airline miles and other loyalty currencies. Our technology is designed to intermediate such that retailers and airlines can easily enter into a contract; however, the airline does not need to be directly involved in each partner onboarding process. Our proprietary platform allows the retailer to sign-up via an automated Smart Contract which acts as the self-service onboarding mechanism on behalf of the airline. An SME on WooCommerce for example, can register with LoyalT in minutes and choose to purchase airmiles from a list of available airlines and readily start rewarding miles to the customers. LoyalT is enabling airlines to create a partner network of 100s of such retailers connected to an airline, taking away mammoth of the operational tasks, associated costs and lost revenue opportunity with a promise of high miles proliferation through a network that is designed to grow organically.
LoyalT opens up an array of collaborative opportunities for retailers wanting to engage with airline mileage currencies in a way that was previously unavailable to them. Retailers can find suitable partners easily in the network and set up their own unique rewarding rules to give loyalty rewards to their customers. Everything is taken care of in the LoyalT Smart Contracts core functionality.
A simple retailer journey on WooCommerce would be as easy as;
1. Register with LoyalT via WooCommerce plugin
2. Select an airline and read through the miles purchase details
3. Choose a monthly or one-time bulk purchase plan
4. Set reward rules to issue miles to their customers
5. Start rewarding valuable customers for their loyalty
LoyalT is only platform today that delivers the tremendous opportunities to the retailers, of rewarding airmiles within just 15 minutes. LoyalT protects the interests of both, the retailer and the airline by executing the rules in the automated Smart Contract system to complete the transaction and onward manage the relationship.
Better value and control over their earning options and redemption choices will increase members engagement with the loyalty programmes they love and their value from shopping online with eCommerce merchants. Consumers will enjoy real-time earning of reward points as well as the redeem and exchange functionalities across the ecosystem of partners. They can track their miles and points online on these stores as well as on the LoyalT mobile app. They can even gift reward points to family and friends, refer these retailers and earn more points or miles, putting them truly in control.
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