Thanks to a new partnership between local marketing business Rewardle (ASX:RXH) and low cost airline AirAsia, a trip to your local café, butcher, grocer, or one of many thousands of local businesses that Rewardle works with, may earn you a flight with AirAsia.
The two companies have established a partnership that will see them collaborate to disrupt the multi-billion dollar Australian points and rewards landscape dominated by the Virgin Velocity and Qantas Frequent Flyer programs.
Rewardle members will have the opportunity to collect AirAsia gift vouchers that could take them anywhere on the AirAsia network. AirAsia flies to over 100 destinations on an extensive route network across ASEAN and beyond.
Rewardle Founder and Managing Director, Ruwan Weerasooriya said, “Rewardle is on a mission to provide local businesses with digital customer engagement tools and business intelligence typically only available to large enterprises.”
“While airline points have become an established loyalty currency, in building Rewardle we saw a huge opportunity to develop a local equivalent where points could be earned and rewards redeemed from the amazing local businesses that service our local communities.”
Simply put, Rewardle has given the traditional “buy 9, get 1 free” paper punch card a digital makeover, extending its utility by adding mobile ordering, payments and social media integrations.
Merchants place a customer facing Rewardle tablet on their counter that acts as a kiosk. During visits, customers check-in on the tablet using a card or the Rewardle smartphone app to collect points and redeem rewards during daily transactions at their favourite places.
Weerasooriya said, “We’ve reimagined membership, points, rewards and payments taking into account the growing impact that social networks, cloud computing, big data and smartphones is having on how we connect and transact. Our partnership with AirAsia will allow us to overlay flight rewards, that are synonymous with leading loyalty programs, while maintaining our uniquely local approach.”
Stuart Myerscough, AirAisa Head of Commercial Australia and New Zealand said, “With Rewardle’s accelerating growth trajectory and increasing profile, we saw an opportunity to move early on capturing a very strategic opportunity that places the AirAsia brand at the heart of local Australian communities.”
“Rewardle is generating spectacular growth. In a very short time they have established a network that is connecting around 4000 local merchants with almost 1,000,000 members.”
According to Weerasooriya, Rewardle’s growth is powered by a carefully planned network effect built into the business model. The “network effect” is the effect that one user of a good or service has on the value of that product to other people. Over time, the network effect can create a bandwagon phenomenon as the network becomes more valuable and more people join, in a positive feedback loop.
He describes Rewardle as a social network that connects consumers with their favourite businesses based on transactions.
He said, “The dynamics of a social network are much better aligned to meet what todays connected consumers are looking for and this insight has shaped how we’ve gone about developing Rewardle. Our model is very similar to other social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn, but we are based on commerce and have a point currency baked in.”
Myerscough said, “As a challenger brand competing with the larger budgets of incumbent rivals we’re always on the lookout for innovative ways to secure cut through for the AirAsia brand.”
“We saw this as a new way to talk directly with consumers on a daily basis and communicate our brand though an innovative new platform.
“Rewardle has amassed a merchant footprint that is more than 4 times that of McDonalds and their membership growth is outpacing Virgin’s Velocity program without a cent being spent on advertising. With stats like this they certainly got our attention.”
He added, “We see the partnership as mutually beneficial as by complementing local rewards with the chance to collect AirAsia gift vouchers that can be used across our network of destinations, we are enhancing Rewardle’s appeal for merchants and members which will drive further growth and we will share in this upside.”
Weerasooriya said, “Our intention from the outset has been to unionise independent local businesses and consumers onto a single marketing and transactional platform. Our view was that once critical mass was achieved we could leverage the collective scale for the benefit of our merchants and members by engaging brands with the Platform.”
“It’s pleasing to see our approach validated earlier than expected by a high profile, innovative brand such as AirAsia. We’re looking forward to working with Stuart and his team to implement the initial integration of AirAsia offers across the Rewardle Network in coming weeks and look forward to exploring the enormous scope to extend this relationship over time.”