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Fintech firm 2Engage kick-starts international drive

Read time 3min 50sec
Andrew Weinberg, managing director of 2Engage.
Andrew Weinberg, managing director of 2Engage.

Fintech firm 2Engage is getting more aggressive around its financial services platform as it pursues international growth opportunities.

2Engage, a customer engagement and incentive solutions business, says it is set to grow its footprint and consumer rewards programmes across the globe in the first quarter of 2020.

The firm last year received financial backing as a result of a 26% acquisition of the company by the 100% black-owned Mergence Group.

“Through the relationship with Mergence, we will integrate our rewards and loyalty programmes with their financial services platform to offer additional services to loyal consumers,” says Andrew Weinberg, managing director of 2Engage and recent winner of the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Sanlam and Business/partners-sponsored competition.

“We will leverage off their technology partners for further growth into Africa, South America and potentially Asia. Our turnkey solution, comprising a unique set of cloud-based technology and methodologies, can easily be white-labelled and the model tailored and rapidly deployed across multiple industries and global markets to drive desired behaviour.”

2Engage has already expanded its pan-African footprint to Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Angola and Tanzania, with Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia launching in the first quarter of this year.

Bonsella programme

Weinberg says under the consumer brand “Bonsella”, 2Engage subsidiary Retail Engage runs SA’s largest digital rewards and loyalty programme in the independent retail sector, targeting over 10 million LSM 3-7 consumers and representing some 60% of the economically active consumer base in the country.

Bonsella is derived from the isiZulu word “bansela” which means to express thanks with a gift.

He says with a free Bonsella loyalty card, shoppers are rewarded with instant airtime to their mobile phones for products on promotion in-store.

The company says the Bonsella programme has grown to 1.2 million members, increasing at an average of 2 500 new members daily.

It is active in 150-plus stores across SA, with employment opportunities offered to local communities by means of 200 in-store marketing agents who promote and sign up new members via mobile devices. .

According to 2Engage, participating stores realise increased sales revenue and increases in average basket size and foot traffic, while brands achieve an average 40% increase in product sales per campaign.

Data deep dive

Weinberg says until now, there has been little access to shopping behaviour insights, or the ability to individually target, communicate and reward this LSM 3-7 base, which he terms the “base of the pyramid”.

“Value is a huge necessity for consumers in this sector which is under acute economic pressure.

“Low income South Africans who live in rural provinces typically shop at nearby independent retail stores, making it difficult for multinational consumer goods and services brands to target them directly.

“Consequently, these brands have little insight into the purchasing behaviour of consumers in the independent main market.

“Brands have historically battled to spend marketing budget in the independent sector as it is fragmented, it is difficult to target shoppers directly and there is little reliable data on the effectiveness of marketing spend. Yet with this retail sector estimated at over R100 billion turnover per annum, it constitutes a significant portion of consumer FMCG spend.

“Our datamining – which is POPI [Protection of Personal Information Act] opt-in compliant – is proving increasingly attractive to brands.”

According to Weinberg, Bonsella is a cost-effective sales channel to this market, enabling brands to develop a targeted marketing and sales strategy.

He says not only do brands benefit from increased sales, they have access to detailed demographic consumer profiles, value reporting, as well as post-campaign research and engagement.

“Our experience encompasses the design, implementation and management of rewards and loyalty programmes, CRM solutions and ROI reporting and analytics tools – all tailored to allow brands to grow customer acquisition, retention and reinforce value-enhancing behaviour,” says Weinberg.

2Engage notes the Bonsella backend technology delivers measurable sales promotions by tracing product take-up at till point (pre, during and after promotions), resulting in comprehensive basket analytics and customer purchase insight.

“This, coupled with the ability to reward individual Bonsella members in the form of airtime, allows brands and retailers to shape consumer shopping patterns and brand preferences into the future.”

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