#443: South African Loyalty Awards Showcases The Best of the Best

The 2023 South African Loyalty Awards, designed specifically to celebrate loyalty brilliance and innovation, announced the winning loyalty brands on Thursday 14 September at the Truth Leaders in Loyalty Summit, in Cape Town.

This was the fifth year of operation of the South African Loyalty Awards. The Let’s Talk Loyalty Show interviews two of the judges who had the challenging job of judging the high calibre entries across 18 different competitive categories.

There are 12 judges in total and Amanda spoke with Nic Bednall, one of the founding judges of the awards and Kaveer Maharaj who is an experienced South African loyalty professional, now based in Dubai.

Nic and Kaveer share their insights into which brands won and why and in particular share critical KPI performance which showcases why this market is leading the way in global loyalty benchmarks.

Show Notes:

1)  Nic Bednall

2) ⁠⁠Kaveer Maharaj

3) MoyaApp

4) South African Loyalty Awards

Audio Transcript

Paula: Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m Paula Thomas, the Founder of Let’s Talk Loyalty. Today’s show is hosted by my colleague, Amanda Cromhout, the Founder of Truth, an international loyalty consultancy firm based in Cape Town, South Africa. If you work in loyalty marketing, make sure to join Let’s Talk Loyalty every Tuesday, every Wednesday and every Thursday to learn the latest ideas from loyalty experts around the world. 

Capillary’s loyalty solutions offer AI powered next generational technology, making them a catalyst for enabling meaningful human connections across the globe. The platform is deep and wide, yet flexible enough to meet the needs of any company looking to take its customer loyalty to new heights. 

Visit capillarytech.com now, to see how they can transform your loyalty future.

Amanda: Today, I have the absolute pleasure of talking to two of the judges of the South African Loyalty Awards. Our guests on Let’s Talk Loyalty today are Nic Bednall, one of the founding judges of the South African Loyalty Awards, and Kaveer Maharaj, who’s a very experienced loyalty professional, now based overseas.

As we have heard on many of the Let’s Talk Loyalty shows, the South African loyalty market is very mature and incredibly advanced. We’ve had the privilege of having many of the winners from the 2023 South African Loyalty Awards brands speaking as guests on Let’s Talk Loyalty in the last 12 months. 

The South African Loyalty Awards are in their fifth year. Truth is the founding company and runs the South African Loyalty Awards, but I’m personally not a judge, but I am the judging chair. There were 18 categories this year hotly contested and five years ago that was only eight categories and entries have doubled since five years ago. What is extremely obvious from the results from the South African Loyalty Awards is the excellence achieved against typical loyalty KPIs, like percentage sales coverage in retail, which averaged between 70 and 85 percent for the retail category.

And in financial services, we see results such as double tenure for those successful brands. Congratulations to all the winners in this very advanced and mature market. We will certainly be encouraging all of the brands to enter the International Loyalty Awards for 2024, as well as the South African Loyalty Awards.

So today is again, another very exciting podcast, a very personal, view of the South African market from the South African Loyalty Awards. And many of you have heard me say time and time again, how mature and advanced the loyalty market is in South Africa. So the results from the South African Loyalty Awards came out on the 14th of September.

And we have two of our judges with us today to share those results. So I’m really excited to welcome Nic Bednall and Kaveer Maharaj. Hi, Nic. Hi, Kaveer. 

Nic: Hello, Amanda. 

Kaveer: Hi, Amanda. 

Amanda: So it’s super to have you both here, but before we start unpacking the South African Loyalty Awards, which has got mountains of information to share. I’m going to start with the traditional Let’s Talk Loyalty question, which is the first one over. Which is your favorite loyalty program? So I’m going to ask Nic first. 

Nic: So you know, I’ve thought about this long and hard because this is my second interview with you on, on this wonderful podcast. And as you probably recall, I said last time that we experiment with lots of different loyalty providers all the time in order to better understand them.

Which means that we get to sample a lot of merchandise, but your question is hard because it’s, which is your favorite. So for me, it’s actually historical. It’s not anyone that I’m using at the moment. For a while in my career, I used to fly on Paris a lot, like once a month, maybe even once every three weeks.

So I obviously signed up for Air France KLM and they just had a wonderful way of looking after you in a typically in French experience. Which was delightful, the benefits were obviously tangible, one was made to feel special, it took the sting out of the commute and it’s really good to feel like you’re getting something back.

So, you know, what’s interesting is it’s an airline once again, and, and interestingly, I fly a lot now, but domestically, and I’m not a member of any airline loyalty program and I kind of miss it. 

Amanda: Yeah. And the markets, it’s great that you’ve mentioned an airline again. I mean, it does get mentioned all the time after this question is Flying Blue is that joint program.

And, you’re right. In the South African market, there’s only one or two. There is, there is the, Skybucks from Airlink, but the other airlines don’t have anything. So it’s very void of frequent flyer programs. But thanks, Nic. And Kaveer? 

Kaveer: This is a really tough one. You know, I think for me, the battle is, and it’s very similar to Nic, is, you know, do you think of it as a loyalty practitioner that’s been doing this for a while? Or do you think of it as a customer? And that, and I think that’s what I’m battled with. I think my answer you know, is one that fits both, you know, one that I’ve used as a customer and one I’ve, I’ve also admired as a loyalty program in terms of how the, how it’s been built and how it serves its customers.

You know, and some of the places that I’ve worked in previously is probably going to hate me for saying this, but, it’s definitely Vitality. You know, I’ve, I think I just won as a user of Vitality in terms of how it just speaks to you as a customer, you trying to achieve your goals and how you share in the value of actually you, yourself achieving your personal goals is fantastic. How it’s delivered, you know, in terms of tech, seamlessly in the app,  it’s just been great. And then from, you know, from a practitioner side of it, it’s, you know, the design of it and just in terms of how that it speaks intrinsically to consumer behavior and how nudging things that we actually as, you know, customers aspire to, really speaks to me.

So, you know, I’ve really enjoyed the program itself. I also enjoy watching and seeing how it’s developed over the years,  and through its, you know, digital program has been great. 

Amanda: And you’re not the first career to mention Vitality either. So yeah, wonderful. Thanks for sharing that from a personal and a professional point of view. So thank you both. 

So Nic Bednall, you’re not a first timer as a judge. You’re one of our founding judges on the South African Loyalty Awards. And part of our actual advisory board that we have for the awards to make sure we’re making the awards better and better every year. Your role as CEO of Moya app, which for those who don’t know, it is an incredibly impressive data free platform with millions of daily users. It’s really super impressive. 

And Kaveer, a very loyalty, a very experienced loyalty professional. You’ve worked with some of the really very best brands in South Africa and abroad from a loyalty point of view. And even though you’re now not based in South Africa, I really love your inputs as a, as a judge, because you’re a South African based overseas, so you’ve got both, both sides of the coin to look at the entries.

So having you both here is incredibly special. And I think it’s worth just sharing briefly your, your own personal route to where you are now, being able to judge on the South African Loyalty Awards. So let me start with you this time, Kaveer. What, tell us a little bit about your loyalty background. 

Kaveer: Oh, you know, I, I didn’t start typically,  I think,  I guess no one starts typically in this industry. You know, you don’t study this in university.  I think the closest we come to,  some sort of learning around this industry is what you and Truth have kind of developed in the market. You know, I studied social sciences. and that was also by mistake. I tried to get into law, and that didn’t work out.

I couldn’t stand reading case studies upon case studies, and there was this program called social sciences. Again, not knowing, you know, truly what that was. I just fell in love with it. I think I fell in love with, you know, understanding human behavior slash consumer behavior, you know, and often they the same thing, you know, depending on what you’re looking at.

Didn’t know what I was going to do with that. You know, I mean, out of university ended up starting in sales and corporate as I guess 1 typically does. And I started to see around the time, you know, this loyalty program, loyalty programs coming through. And it really struck my interest because of the way, companies were using loyalty to nudge consumer behavior.

So I really tried to get in and, you know, I started my career at absolute rewards actually,  many years ago, and built myself through, through that over the last 13 years. And I’ve been lucky, like you you mentioned to, to have worked in a number of leading brands, doing a number of things within loyalty, because I think, you know, you can be in loyalty, but I don’t think we truly appreciate how many things you can actually do within the loyalty space itself.

You know, we often jack of all trades, you know, you have to be, you know, you have to be digital. You have to be, you know, you have to understand consumer behavior, understand finance is legal. You literally have to cut across, you know, all functions of the business. And I think that’s really something I’ve enjoyed, you know, a lot.

And I don’t think I’ve appreciated how much I’ve learned in, you know, in South African market and being the market that we are, how developed, we’ve grown through the years. So, you know, very, very, very interesting and very proud of the work. I think that’s being done. 

Amanda: Yeah, you’re absolutely right, Kaveer. I do find the role of any loyalty professional, you end up having to do so many different parts of the value chain. So you become a jack of all trades, but very specialist in a marketing profession. So yeah, you’ve got a wonderful pedigree of loyalty brands behind you. So that’s why we’re so excited for you to join us this year as one of our judges.

And then Nic, you have been with us for quite a while. This is your fifth year as a judge, but more importantly, I know you and I’ve had the privilege of working together for many years, can you just share with the audience today, a little bit about your background, bringing you to where you are now? 

Nic: Yeah, we met when I was MD of BBDO, which is a global advertising agency based in South Africa. I then went on to start a digital agency that grew rapidly in the South African market, and that made me really fall in love with the digital innovation frontier that I could see was coming. 

So after doing that, I was involved with mobile apps around payment and loyalty,  specifically because once you have an app and you now have a digital platform, the next question is, can you get payments? Can you get customers to transact? And can you look after those customers so that you can encourage them to transact? So, quite a bit of time in apps and payments and loyalty. And now, obviously on the social media side, running a large social media platform, which not surprisingly includes payments and loyalty. Yeah, that’s my background. 

Amanda: Wonderful. Thanks. Absolutely. And it’s so clear to see how you’ve kind of come from where you came from and now as CEO of Moya app, a great route to market, so to speak. 

So today we are together to talk about the South African Loyalty Awards. We’re in our fifth year, Truth, the company that I founded, runs the South African Loyalty Awards, but it is not branded the South Truth loyalty awards. It’s very much,  an awards for the industry in South Africa. So I am not a judge on the South African awards, but I am the judging chair. So our team runs the process, but we absolutely don’t judge at all. We’re very conflicted given our position in the market. So we rely on 12 incredible judges and Nic and Kaveer are two of those judges.

And the awards over the five years really have grown. They started off with eight categories in year one. And this year we are announced, we’ve announced 18 winning categories. So real growth, but more importantly, what really stands out is the caliber of brands that enter these awards. It really is the top brands in the country and we’re growing year on year.

So whilst the number of entries have doubled from where we started, it isn’t just lots and lots of entries of mediocrity. It really is world class brands and world class loyalty excellence. So we’re going to go straight into it. Some of the headline categories are retail, financial services, restaurants, and so on.

So I’m going to ask Kaveer straight away, who won the winning, who is the winning retail, best retail loyalty program, who won it or which brand won it and why did they win it? 

Kaveer: So, you know, I think just talking about retail and loyalty, I mean, you know, the two worlds live so close together and this year it was well contested. I think every category like you mentioned,  has been really well contested. And, you know, if you’re winning any one of these categories, you’re doing something special. So, so this year, the winning entry for for retail was and funny enough, I’m going to use their words, the anti loyalty program, and that’s a quote of them, right?

It seems quite ironic, right? In terms of,  them entering loyalty, but I think, you know, it is, it is effectively a loyalty program and extra savings, achieves the same KPIs. So, you know, congratulations to checkers and extra savings. It was a fantastic entry and I think, you know, like you said, there’s 12 judges, you know, completely unbiased.

And we looked at this, you know, and I think if I look at what extra savings has has tried to do here is is really moving the direction. And I think a lot of retail programs are starting to do. This is and it makes sense because the low margins and long gestation periods of points, which you typically will associate with a loyalty program. And I think that’s why their positioning is, you know, they’ve gone for more instant gratification mechanics. so, you know, it, it, you really see them thinking hard about how do we deliver value and how do we actually make it, you know, realistic and, you know, right in front of the customer at the right point in time.

And that’s what, you know, we’ve looked at some of the key metrics they’ve presented. And, you know, they’ve had such outstanding penetration rates in terms of the, you know, the sales penetration to loyalty sales, the retention rates were really good. 

And, you know, we’ve just, you know, in terms of the entry and how they’ve designed the program for their particular segment, it has to be commended. I think you know, in terms of the way they look at the different mechanics and the rewards, for that particular segment, it’s really, you know, often difficult, to design for. And I think that was really commendable and, you know. 

Amanda: Thank you. The actual group is ShopRite X, and they entered both their, their banners, ShopRite and Checkers for extra savings. And you’re absolutely right. You know, the, how they’ve delivered it across the omni channel experience and so on. I really hope they enter the international loyalty awards next year cause I think they will give the global retailers a huge run for their money. So let’s watch this space. 

So I’m going to shift out of retail because obviously we’ve, we’ve discussed Shoprite X, but Nic, can you talk us through a very competitive category globally. But in South Africa, we’ve seen a repeat of a winner in the restaurant and QSR category. 

Nic: Yeah. So, as you said, a very interesting category globally and also well computed locally. So the winner for the best loyalty program for quick service restaurants was Spur. They are a phenomenal loyalty program as well as a restaurant group, multi brand restaurant group. 

You know, the entry was very, very strong. They demonstrated enormous growth of new users and given that they’re, you know, historically a long run loyalty program, you know, multi decade, it’s very impressive. They also completely reinvented their tech, so what I personally enjoyed in the entry, the entry paper was just the description of what they achieved with their tech, you know, and they’re covering all the kind of contemporary ways of looking after a loyalty program using tech. They’ve got earn and burn, they’ve got multi channel, they’ve got click and collect, you know. Absolutely comprehensive in terms of what they’re doing and then on top of that, able to deliver savings from a cost point of view in terms of how much it costs to run the loyalty program and be able to boost the amount that loyalty members spend within the group versus non loyalty members.

So, very exciting to see a you know, a well established, long running program producing such incredible numbers and reinventing itself from the inside out with a new tech platform. 

Amanda: Yeah, lovely description, Nic. Thank you. You’re absolutely right. The fact that they, and they’re such a favorite South African brand as well. So I think it’s just great to see them excelling in the loyalty space. 

So now I’m going to shift questions out of those categories into the financial services loyalty category. And this is very hotly contested, like last year was the same, and it has been every year, actually. So, Kaveer, the big question to you is, eBucks have picked up financial services loyalty program, but what is so special about eBucks? Why are they winning locally and internationally? And I’ll cover the international piece in a moment. 

Kaveer: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know, you keep hearing about, you know, in these circles when it comes to loyalty, I think it’s certainly one of those benchmark programs. I think 1, you know, you know, out of the industry continues to look at and, you know, having looked through the entries and this year, you know, just looking at the way they’ve submitted and how I think 1 of the really key things with the box and what they’ve done is 1 you know, they really segmented their program. So they’re, you know, they’re really customized based on on on the, you know, on the segment they’re serving in that particular. So it’s not 1 size fits all program across the entire bank. You know, they’re really basically, you know, fitting this program according to the different customer needs across the different segments. I think that certainly sets them apart. 

What we’ve also seen is, I think, you know, in their submission is, you know, how the program performs really well against the KPIs. Really high redemption rates in a world where, you know, we’re using currency and typically, you know, with regard to redemption, that’s a sign of engagement. And that shows how successful they’ve been, for a long time. 

And I think Nic made the point around some of these programs living, you know, their longevity, just being in the market and still being able to sustain those results have really set them apart. So I think, you know, and then I think we probably speak about them,  you know, in the future and we still see the same results coming up over and over again. It’s fantastic.

Amanda: Yeah. Yeah, it really is. And I think, What you mentioned how they have a segmented approach. They actually have nine different segments within the eBucks program, which sounds complex. But if you’re actually a ebooks member on FMB banking clients, you don’t experience nine different segments propositions, you only experience the one relevant to you. So that’s how it becomes simple. We actually, we actually had, Johan Melman, the CEO of eBucks on the program a while ago, so he explained all of that. 

The other thing that stood out is particularly their bank wide approach. So in the international loyalty awards, this was commended across the industry actually, of how the winning brands and eBucks didn’t win the international category for financial services, but they did pick up three other awards, including the best long term program. But what was commended is how a bank wide program, rather than just a credit card swipe experience, has so much more impact for the financial results of the actual brand running it, and hence as you said,  the KPIs that eBucks are delivering against aren’t just about a loyalty program. It’s about the bank, the results and the impact for the bank. 

So also in the financial services environment, we saw ABSA rewards pick up best new,  best relaunch program. And that was very much down to them relaunching the whole structure of their program and losing the cost to the consumer. So it has become a no fee program.

But Kaveer, I just want to tap your brains a little bit more about eBucks because whilst they’ve picked up the best financial services program, that isn’t all. What else have they achieved in the South African Loyalty Awards? 

Kaveer: Certainly not all. I mean, I think they’ve really come through this year. And like you mentioned, you know, picking up three awards at the International Loyalty Awards is just testament to I think how well the team had done. And you know, this year they’ve won in 6 categories, including team of the, you know, team of the year, and I think, you know, that’s, that’s just outstanding  you know, and like I said before, you’ve got 12 judges, all of them looking at multiple entries, and these are not just, you know, simple, easy categories. These are huge categories, you know, the one best partnership, the biggest impact on SA behavior, Best Long Term Loyalty in South Africa as well. So, you know, they won that internationally as well, Best Short Term Campaign and Most Innovative Use of Tech.

So, you know, this is no small feat, I think, by the program itself. They’re competing against the biggest in each of those different categories, and in some cases, some of their, you know, competitors in these categories, you know, are basically that’s the industry they work in. And for eBucks to still, you know, put ahead of that is definitely commendable.

You know, I think in terms of its successes, you can see how, you know, having looked at all of these different entries, how eBucks as a loyalty program is interwoven into the bank. You know, it almost feels as part of the structure of the bank and its product. You know, you can’t separate the bank from the eBucks itself.

And I think that’s really what needs its success. And then the innovation over the years, I think, as you know, you continuously see, and I think that’s why year and year, because each year they continue to innovate. The entries are tremendous. You know, if you look at what they’ve done in terms of the gamification, propositions that brought the e commerce,  statistics, we’ve had a look at, how the currency performs and continue to performs for them and delivered again through seamless omnichannel experience. Yeah, that’s,  I think it’s really won the team. 

Amanda: Yeah. Thank, thank you for sharing all of that. So it, the give, the fact that they’ve picked up six separate awards within the, within the 18 awards is testament to exactly what you’ve just said and it’s worth the extra mention and the fact that we’ve been able to award them also team of the year to, to recognize that.

So I encourage everyone to, to listen to Johan Moolman‘s Let’s Talk Loyalty interview. I’ll put in the show notes, the actual Let’s Talk Loyalty podcast number for that interview as well. So moving away from eBucks, because this isn’t about eBucks, this is about the South African Loyalty Awards. But there are other brands that repeatedly win year on year because they’re just showing strong, strong leadership in their category.

So Nic, can you talk to us about that one particular brand I’m referring to, which is MySchool, but also there were a few other really interesting categories where some fantastic brands shown. 

Nic: Sure. So, yeah, like you said, we see examples of, of leading examples of, of loyalty efforts, both by established brands and, and relatively new brands. So the one I think you’re referring to is MySchool. It’s a two times winner. They won the best other category. Let’s face it. Other isn’t the most glamorous,  choice. But in reality, what that means is it’s, you know, it’s not particularly retail or financial services. And, and so it’s an interesting category because it gets a multitude of different types of entries and they won that.

And then they also won Best Community, which plays into their core strength. And they had some strong opposition in that particular category, but they still won. 

Look, they’re an amazing organization. They’re a previous winner of SA Loyalty Awards. They’re also a previous, team or leadership winner of SA loyalty Leadership. The, the, the fascinating stats is that they’ve in their time period of existing have facilitated a billion rounds worth of value being given back into communities and they’ve had about 8, 500 different causes that they’ve covered.

So, you know, it’s a, it’s a really good example. And I think one that’s interesting for your global listenership of a sustainable loyalty program that works for business, but works for causes and does it year after year after year at enormous scale. And I think that’s what’s so impressive about what they do.

Amanda: Thanks Nic for sharing that. So just on MySchool, I did interview Pieter Twine on Let’s Talk Loyalty a good over 12 months ago. So I’ll add to the show notes, Pieter’s interview about the MySchool program. It’s a phenomenal program and globally really worth to listen. I’m just mentioning that for the Let’s Talk Loyalty listeners because It’s such a beautiful program that has achieved local South African, accolades, but also international accolades. So sorry for interrupting you there. 

Nic: No worries. So the other two interesting ones that popped out, one is a, another existing,  long running program for, for,  a financial services company. So this is obviously Discovery Vitality. They’ve been going for 26 years. They’re, you know, they’re all about affecting behavioral change from a health point of view, primarily But now subsequently operating in other categories like short term insurance with what they’re doing with driving, and now banking as well.

So, you know, I think this should also be something that listeners can listen out to on a previous podcast, but Vitality’s when in this particular case this year was around gamification. And what’s really interesting is they’re now using tech and gamification to further drive a positive behavioral change.

So it’s, it’s an obvious thing for them to do, but nevertheless, they’ve done it and won the category, which demonstrates how well they execute. And that’s something to bear in mind, you know, to, to win your category and to be around for 26 years and continue to innovate techs, executional excellence, excellence as well.

Amanda: Yeah. Absolutely. And you’re, you’re absolutely right. what’s interesting listening to all of the winning brands is we have interviewed so many of them for the global audience of Let’s Talk Loyalty. So all of these, like you say, Vitality, ShopRite, MySchool, eBucks, I’ll pop the podcast number in the show notes.

Nic: Yeah. And then, you know, in, in the mix of, of, of winners that are interesting to pay attention to, there’s a new winner. So, Sasol have launched a rewards and loyalty program. It’s only a year old. I think they launched in April last year, did phenomenally well. So for some South African context for the listeners who are not here, most of the fuel brands will do a partnership program with another retailer or another bank in a multi tenant, you know, multi brand loyalty program.

Sasol have gone on their own, and, and they’re achieving phenomenal results. So in less than a year, you know, the headline stats, their KPIs that were so impressive is they’ve already gained a million customers and they were able to increase sales, double digit growth. They were able to gain market share.

Now, many of these things sound easy, but when you consider fuel is an enormous vole game, very, very large volumes and obviously quite tight margins, very tight margins. So to, to lift the top line through a loyalty program,  is impressive because you would imagine normally. The impact will be relatively low, certainly within a year on a very high volume category, but yet double digit growth in sales vole and a 2 percent market share growth. So very, very impressive. 

Amanda: Wonderful. Thanks, Nic. Thanks for sharing that. You’re absolutely right. There’s only Sasol and one other brand who actually run their own program. Everyone else is, as you said, in partnerships because the legislation in South Africa is so restrictive in terms of, fuel pricing, which impacts the loyalty approach. So great to see Sasol excelling there and being recognized. 

So the loyalty awards aren’t just about these standout brands. We really like to encourage the companies that support the industry. As in technology platforms, data, vendors or agencies, so to speak. So there were a couple of categories dedicated to our suppliers. So Nic, could you share with us who stood out and why they stood out for us? 

Nic: The category that I, that I looked at specifically was in the tech vendor category. And there, there was a good mix between local and international vendors, which made it a very interesting category to look at,  the winner was V&S, which is actually a domestic brand, a very fast growing restaurant ordering platform.

And what they’re very cleverly done is focused on the pain points of the restaurant owner. And they’ve capitalized on the ability of digital software as a service to be able to quickly roll out customer loyalty programs that not only make the customer feel better looked after, but also increase the size of the spend of that customer and remove the headache for the restaurant owner. Done so well that they’ve expanded across Africa. I think they’re now operating in about 18 different locations in Africa. So very impressive homegrown tech.

Amanda: Yeah. And also I’m aware that then they’ve also. Quite recently gone beyond just the restaurant sector. So they are, they are managing to service broader categories, which is fantastic to see.

Nic: Agreed. 

Amanda: Great. So thank you. So I think what’s the brands who submitted to the loyalty awards this year weren’t so happy about. We were certainly happy about it as we put very strict parameters in place about the KPI results on within the confidence of knowing that nothing was going to get shared due to the confidentiality from the judges.

What it allowed us to do as judges or you to do as judges was to really compare hopefully apples with apples instead of apples and pineapples for the first time ever. And I am incredibly proud of how the brands did submit these KPIs. They were hard hitting KPIs and so many of them did correctly submit these, which has enabled us to walk away with a real view of how the whole industry is doing.

So as painful as it was for the individual submissions, it allowed us to judge and therefore be so much more confident in the results. So without obviously disclosing anything that was submitted in confidence against an individual brand, I’d love you both to share those, those sort of KPI parameters. So Kaveer, let’s just pick off for a starting point retail.

Kaveer: Yeah. I mean, like you said, Amanda, it’s, it was truly, you know, you know, kind of when we had to look at these, submissions and when you’re assessing them, the KPIs painted, you know, a really solid picture when it comes to the quantitative side. You know, I love looking at the qualitative side of ability, but, you know, every organization end of the day, you need to look at the numbers and you need to see how your programs performing and especially us sitting on this side, you know, judging these entries.

The KPIs have helped us tremendously to, to really paint both sides of the picture, for, for these programs. So in terms of retail, you know, like I said, earlier on, it was highly contested, you know, you could, you could pick it off. Percentage here or there. So it’s such a tremendous industry and how it’s evolved through loyalty is is amazing.

I think, you know, if you take loyalty out of it, I think you’d struggle to kind of see these stats and how the impact of what the impact of loyalty has made, you know, across across the industry. But I think just, you know, to pick up some of the key stats that we’ve seen, I think one of the you know, One of the bigger ones you you tend to measure in retail is definitely your sales penetration. You know, how is loyalty performing against total sales? So, you know, it’s, it’s the sales you can measure. Well, it’s the sales through loyalty that you can see. You can, you can gather the data versus the sales that you don’t. And we’ve seen absolutely incredible results. You know that we’ve seen ranges between 8 over 80 percent and 90 percent of sales coming through,  the entries you know, that’s just staggering results. And I think that even globally compare, you know, compared is, is really something to be proud of.

Amanda: Yeah, it really is very competitive with competitive, if not higher than the average stats we see globally or listen to on this show. So great. Thank you for sharing that.

Kaveer: Agree. You know, some of the others that we’ve looked at is, I think, especially in retail, one of the challenges is obviously retention. You know, retail is such that, you know, the customers often tend to be stochastic, you know, it’s where the price point is, you know, wherever this product is cheaper or that, you know, I’m looking for that quality of this brand, to see retention rates, you know, above 70, you know, close to 85 percent in some of the entrants as well, very similar to the penetration rates really high, to be able to retain your customers through loyalty. 

And you seeing those stats through your loyalty program really paints that picture for organizations. And I think, you know, if you ever ask the question,  you know, the power of loyalty, it really is in these KPIs, you know, you can see how, you know, the program is really working for these, for these businesses and then these entries, completely valid in terms of the submissions again, making our, our jobs tough here. 

Amanda: Well, it makes that job easier as judges, right? Cause we were able to see like for like comparison, which was just remarkable. And again, these figures are immense. We saw the same in the financial services category. Nic, could you share some of those with us about what really stood out for you? 

Nic: Yeah, so the financial services is a broad category. You’ve got banking, which, you know, you tend to use every single day as a consumer, and then you might have longer term insurance products that you don’t use that often. So, naturally, you’re going to see a range of, of, of results when you take a single KPI, but one, a key KPI for, for loyalty within financial services would be the percentage of redemption.

There we have, we have some examples going all the way up to 95% redemption, which is obviously, I would imagine world class. It’s certainly very, very impressive in our domestic market. And then that might go as low as 40%, but then you need to take into context what kind of category they’re operating in within financial services or how or how old the program is that’s been running. Another interesting KPI was around tenure. And the proof of the impact of loyalty, obviously extending tenure. And there we see a range of anything between 1. 5 and two, two times as long. So that’s also very, very good results. And you know, the, the, there is a reputation with certain products in this market that consers come in and leave. And you know, you’re able to demonstrate that actually you can retain them for longer, which is interesting.

Amanda: Yeah, I love that. I think that’s one of my favorites actually, because it just shows this, you know, a lot of people use the term stickiness, you know, is this, is it a short term like acquisition play and a quick spike in the results or are we seeing longevity and stickiness. So that’s a wonderful stat to show, yeah, this is really creating stickiness to the brand with a double, double size tenure. 

So Nic, one thing I wanted to sort of draw this discussion to a close with, because this is about the South African marketplace. When the few brands that excelled on the international stage back in June at the International Loyalty Awards, the common question that came through from the press locally were, okay, so this is great, but how is it actually properly making a difference to the lives of a South African consumer? Is this just a marketing gimmick or is there a real impact? And I think this is really something that’s came through in the results of the South African Loyalty Awards. Can you share that with us, please? 

Nic: Yeah, the South African domestic economy is not in a great shape. We were not growing very well as an economy. And then on top of that, we like many countries in the world are facing inflation. Which means that for the average person, times are harder than they have been historically,  obviously, at the top end of the market, one is conscious of inflation, but perhaps a little bit more comfortable, whereas at the bottom end of the market, inflation and a lack of economic growth and jobs really bites hard. And so they are far more adversely affected. 

And the interesting thing about loyalty in that context is that,  we find that the usage of loyalty program is growing both at the top end and the bottom end. Obviously, at the top end, people are looking for a deal, and they can find it because they,  you know, they have the ability to, to spend money and get a return on their money by picking multiple loyalty programs, but at the bottom and bottom end of the market, it’s essential.

And so we see, you know, massive, massive amounts of people,  using loyalty programs, a wide range of loyalty programs because they’re looking for value. And then quite deep usage of each particular loyalty program because they’re trying to get value back as, as quickly as possible.

Amanda:  Yeah, absolutely. You’re absolutely right. It’s not limited to one particular segment of the market. It’s, it’s wide across all South African consers. through research later in the year, when we released the Truth and Brand map loyalty white paper every year, we see that, you know, confirmed and for you with your business with Moya app, you joined us last year to do the same survey for a lower income customer. We saw it even more so it’s backed up a by the It’s research that we do every year, but through the South African Loyalty Awards, it comes through so strongly. 

And then Kaveer, I’ve got my final question to you is you are a South African, a loyalty professional based overseas. How do you see looking back into the South African loyalty markets as an observer, but also now as a judge of these awards versus what you see internationally?

Kaveer: I mean, that’s a really interesting one. You know, I look at it from a few few aspects. I think the first one is, you know, the maturity of the market. And I like to split that in 2 forms. 

The 1 is maturity of the organizations and the loyalty programs themselves. You know, how complex, how simple, how well designed, what sort of tech they use, et cetera.

And then also the maturity of the consumer, and I think, you know, it’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation, you know, where, you know, if you have a mature conser market that understands how loyalty programs work, you know, often your loyalty programs need to match that, you know, and also you have massive competition between loyalty programs, whereas the developing markets in terms of loyalty, you know, consumer may not quite understand.

You know, we’ve, we’ve looked at a few African markets where you know, you just couldn’t implement certain types of programs and complexities because the consumer just wouldn’t understand it. So I think, you know, if I, if I look at South Africa, we’re highly mature in that sense. You look at how our programs are designed, you know, the way our value propositions and mechanics, you know, looking at the different ways we use tech, how integrated tech and data is within the entire loyalty ecosystem and how consers adapt and how they use programs is really tremendous, you know, comparatively, I think, to other markets. Whereas, you know, globally, you’re still seeing some of the teething comes through in terms of one loyalty, how it’s positioned within the organizations, how it’s viewed, what it can do, and as well as the markets and the consumer themselves, you know, there’s still, you know, let’s call it, you know.

Getting educated on how these programs work, how to extract value. And with that, but I think there’s definitely an element of, you know, where the tech is really starting to penetrate across different models. I think, you know, loyalty tech is has really evolved in terms of what it’s able to do. And obviously, tech democratizes the way we implement programs.

So, you know, while we are a mature market, I think it wouldn’t take other markets really to to either catch up or, you know probably even compete, even though the markets don’t compete, you know, directly in terms of loyalty programs, but I think just in terms of the industry itself. so I think SA loyalty extremely, you know, mature just in terms of the way we design and deliver programs and our consumer themselves you know, just in terms of, you know, my opinion and how I’ve seen, across different regions.

Amanda: Wonderful. Thank you. It’s lovely to have that perspective. So I just want to say thank you very much to you both for giving a insight into the South African Loyalty Awards. As I said, at the start, it’s a very mature and advanced market. It’s been said by others, not just us here in South Africa.  

Congratulations to all of the winners announced on the 14th of September. And I really want to encourage all of the brands that are featured particularly in the winning lineup, but elsewhere in the awards from the South African market to enter the International Loyalty Awards, just as we saw, DSTV and eBooks winning this year as well.

So but from, from me to just say from Nic and Kaveer, thank you for the insight. I’m going to pop into the show notes, your LinkedIn profile. So anyone who would like to discuss this further with you can connect with you, but thanks so much. It’s been incredibly insightful. 

Nic: Thanks, Amanda. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Kaveer: Thank you, Amanda. Absolute pleasure.

Paula: The Australian Loyalty Association is proud to bring you the Asia Pacific Loyalty Awards to celebrate excellence, innovation, and best practice in the thriving loyalty industry active in the region. The awards have been split into 16 key categories and submissions will be judged by a panel of local experts.

Early bird submissions close on the 5th of November 2023. And the awards gala event will take place on the 14th of March, 2024 at the Glass House in Melbourne. 

Contact them at theaustralianloyaltyassociation.com for further information.

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty. If you’d like us to send you the latest shows each week, simply sign up for the Let’s Talk Loyalty newsletter on letstalkloyalty.com and we’ll send our best episodes straight to your inbox. And don’t forget that you can follow Let’s Talk Loyalty on any of your favorite podcast platforms, and of course, we’d love for you to share your feedback and reviews. 

Thanks again for supporting the show.