There is a wise saying “It is far cheaper to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one.” This has been the secret sauce behind many successful companies who have used this very statement again and again.
But how exactly does one retain a customer? What does a business need to do to be able to retain a customer? Well, loyalty programs have been historically known to achieve just this. From Starbucks to Mcdonalds, loyalty programs have proved to be one of the most effective ways to ensure customer loyalty.
In today’s section of the startup up interview, we talk to Vincent, the founder of Meerty, a company which is making it increasingly easy for businesses and merchants to incorporate loyalty programs and to build an effective communication with the customer.
What is the startup / product / venture about? Give us a brief description of it.
Meerty wants to promote local shopping and to do that, we want to provide physical shop owners a tool to manage their loyalty operations and customer communication. In a more concrete way, we give the merchant access to a dashboard to help him set up its shop and loyalty operations, follow its business activity and also contact its customers.
Customers just have to install a mobile application and show to merchants a QRCode each time they visit the shop. They can see their progress on unlocking loyalty operations and also find shops around them.
How many co-founders are there? Please introduce them and their backgrounds.
I am a “solo founder”. Indeed, I have a solid technical background as I have been working as a freelance developer for more than 10 years. I’ve worked on multiple high traffic websites so scaling a web application is not an issue for me. I wanted to learn more on marketing & sales and I think Meerty is a great experience to work on these topics.
How did you come up with the idea? What motivated you to do this?
Idea of Meerty came from a big contract I’ve seen between people ordering products on big ecommerce websites that they could find around them at home in a really cool shop.
Based on this observation I wanted to bring a tool that gives power to small shops and I think that the best way to help them attract or keep customers was to create a tool to help them have a digitalized loyalty program that also simplifies their customer communication.
Who is your target market? Why do you think your product will appeal to them?
I am targeting small shop owners in priority because I think they are the most likely to be interested in such a tool: when you open a shop, you need to build customer loyalty to keep people coming to your shop.
I also tried to keep the price a little as possible so that the use of Meerty is not a barrier for them. There are no installation fees, just a monthly subscription.
Maybe later I could bring some new features that could also interest bigger shops but that’s not a priority actually.
Who are your competitors? How are you different from them?
Meerty has some serious competitors but most of them are cashback applications or when dealing with loyalty their goal is to use a loyalty network program: customers can earn points when they visit a shop and visit another shop in the network to spend their points.
That’s also cool but I don’t think this really helps the shops to really engage with their customers. I want to bring better direct communication between shops and customers so I think this is the point where we are different.
What are the future plans with the product/startup? Any new features you are planning on?
First step is to start acquiring new customers to have a stable community of shops and try to engage with shops in multiple countries. Then, the idea would be to continue to bring great tools to help merchants in their work but also to start building a shopping community and to become a reference.
The idea is that when a customer opens its application, we would like him to have in mind: “Well, I want to do some shopping, what can I buy around me?” or “I need this, is there a shop selling this around me?”.
Developing this community spirit is really where we plan to go next.