Customer loyalty schemes, such as Tesco Club Card, Boots Advantage Card and Nectar, are popular with shoppers and proven to encourage customer retention and increase sales, yet only 20% of offline retailers have a loyalty scheme.
With 280,000 retailers in the UK generating £300 billion in revenue every year, London-based startup, Fidel, saw an opportunity to rethink the way shoppers can be rewarded for their custom.
Fidel’s goal was to make loyalty and retention marketing simple for both merchants and consumers, and to enable retailers to increase revenues. The company developed a platform that makes it easier for consumers to receive rewards for their purchases. Instead of having to carry different loyalty cards or coupons for each store, they can use their normal debit or credit cards and rewards are allocated automatically at the point of sale.
Turning a vision into global sales
Subrata Dev, Fidel’s founder and CEO, said:
When Fidel applied for the Innovate UK grant, we had little more than a vision. We were operating a customer engagement platform for SMEs and wanted to find a seamless way for customers to collect points and rewards without having to scan cards, key rings or mobile apps.
I’m very excited about the progress we’ve made and where this is heading. The demand has been phenomenal and beyond our expectations. We had so much interest in the platform we were building, before the project had even ended, that we managed to secure further capital from one of the largest venture capital firms in the world, Horizons Ventures.
This additional capital will now help us grow and commercialise the service in UK and internationally.
The platform Fidel created makes it easy for developers to build innovative loyalty applications and services that are linked with payment cards, without having to integrate directly with each payment network (Visa, Mastercard and Amex). Fidel’s mission is to speed up the adoption of ‘card-linked loyalty’ by making the technology more accessible.
Subrata Dev added:
We take care of all the heavy-lifting in the background whilst our partners can focus on building cool products that will ultimately drive transaction volumes and contribute towards the growth of the ecosystem.
A steady increase in customers
Today, the Fidel API is powering several businesses, including Avios (British Airways). Customers will soon be able to earn Avios points automatically while shopping at their local supermarkets, restaurants, airports and coffee shops using any bank card.
Other customers include TopCashBack, Perkbox, Airtime and Percent. Some of the merchants who are already connected to the platform include household names such as Debenhams, Gap, Burger King, House of Fraser, Cafe Nero and Subway.
Fidel has also been invited by Japan’s 3 biggest banks to support the Japanese government’s aim of increasing card usage from 18% to 40% by 2020. By introducing Fidel’s technology platform, the banks hope to encourage more of their customers to take up cashless shopping.
Fidel is expanding the service globally to Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Australia and the US, and has doubled the size of its team since completing the grant project in November 2017.
Fidel was funded through our open funding programme, which recognises that innovative ideas can come from any sector or technology area and at any time. Find out more about the open programme.
Providing a secure interface for users
The company has been careful to build in safeguards for consumers. It is PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) level 1 certified. The company handles and transmits all sensitive data via secure bank-level encryption methods.
No personal information, such as a card number, is ever stored. The company cannot monitor transactions without explicit opt-in consent from cardholders and they monitor qualified transactions at participating merchant locations only to fulfil rewards. All data is stored on an anonymised and aggregated basis and the company never analyses or shares this data with third parties.