Rich Communication Service (RCS) – A Revolution in SMS Communication

Rich Communication Service (RCS) – A Revolution in SMS Communication

Brands are always in an endeavor for maximum customer outreach to provide an upscaled customer engagement. Like any other technology, general outreach to customers has evolved from monotonous text to more engaging and interactive. Today, we are witnessing an explosion of media channels like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat. However, all the media channels were preceded by SMS. SMS still remains the most widely used form of communication with almost 781 billion messages sent per month in the US alone.

The obvious drawback of SMS is its lack of visual appeal since it just supports text. Over the years, people have noticed other inherent shortcomings of SMS like lack of encryption, lack of reading receipts and no group messaging. The aforesaid drawbacks are handled effectively by apps like WhatsApp, but the popularity of SMS remains unchanged. In order to make SMS at par with other feature-rich messaging apps, the industry experts developed the Rich Communication Service (RCS) protocol which is a modern version of texting. The RCS is on a bold endeavor to combine the features of other messaging apps into one platform.

In this blog, we will highlight the salient features of RCS and how Capillary can boost customer engagement for your brand with RCS. You would appreciate and be informed if RCS is the right approach for your brand. We will also discuss if RCS would pose a challenge to your campaigns and the steps to be followed to leverage Capillary’s take on this next-gen messaging platform.

Why RCS Will Be The Next Big Thing In SMS Campaign Management 

RCS has literally mesmerized modern businesses which associate several use cases with the interactivity that the messaging technology brings to the table. Businesses mainly look forward to improving customer engagement and with RCS Business Messaging (RBM), brands can drive better engagement by sharing high-resolution photos or videos.

rich-communication-service-sms

Over 90% of SMS users remain active after 90 days highlighting the stickiness to RCS. With over 157 million active users globally, RCS has strived to carve a niche. Besides, RCS has been implemented by over 22 handset manufacturers and is supported by 55 carrier networks. In the current year, 491 networks with an estimated 2.5 billion people are set to adopt RCS and 58% of these individuals would be based in the Asia Pacific.

The Banking and Financial sectors are well-positioned to leverage the superior features of RCS with customer engagement being the main focus. Features like a horizontally scrollable carousel for branch locator or customized information of customers are a few highlights that banks and financial services look forward to using. To add to the hype, telecom operators and OEMs are already geared towards RCS messaging. As stated earlier, carrier networks like AT&T Mobility and OEM giants like Asus support RCS messaging.

An advanced feature like RCS would obviously be packed with loads of benefits. Detailing each benefit below: 

  • Visual message delivery to default SMS inbox: The consumers are habituated to receiving promotional messages via SMS and are less likely to block the brand. RCS transforms traditional texting with advanced features like images or product carousels delivered directly to a user’s regular SMS inbox. 
  • Offers a variety of share-worthy content: The broader RCS protocol allows the exchange of high-resolution images, video, audio, group chats, read receipts, and real-time viewing. The wide assortment of assets that can be exchanged via RCS makes it comparable to other rich messaging apps.
  • Fosters brand trustworthiness: RCS messages are generally delivered via a business ID and not a phone number. In addition, RCS senders are verified by a legitimate verification authority which emphasizes that the sender is genuine.
  • No template whitelisting required: As per TRAI DLT regulations in India for SMS marketing, companies need to whitelist their SMS templates. Such measures are to control promotional spam and SMS fraud. RCS is not liable to template whitelisting and fosters a smoother process for brands to run campaigns.

How Capillary Can Boost Your Brand’s Customer Engagement With RCS 

rich-communication-service

Capillary has been a leading player in customer outreach and is a renowned enterprise enabling brands to scale their customer engagement. With Capillary venturing into RCS, there are several benefits detailed as follows:

  • Enabling visual superpower: Brands entrusting Capillary can leverage high-quality visuals sent out to customers. In addition, RCS messaging enables brands to attach and issue offers to consumers to achieve better engagement.
  • Customer segmentation: Capillary allows brands to segment customers and runs targeted campaigns for each segment. This feature is extensible to RCS and customers across segments can be targeted with unique RCS campaigns. Such endeavors yield effective ROI.
  • Leverage detailed analytics: Capillary provides detailed analytics of campaign performance, user-level insights, purchase pattern, and RoI from both the online and offline channels. Such insights help brands to make data-backed decisions and accordingly engage with them.
  • Fallback mechanism: Capillary allows brands to configure Fallback SMS within RCS campaigns so that users who are not reachable on RCS would be automatically reached through SMS. This feature allows brands to run a single RCS campaign and target all sets of users. 

Another reason why RCS is touted to be the next big thing in SMS campaigns is because of its ease of adoption. RCS does not require special hardware or a social media account and users can readily get started with supported SMS applications. What would distinguish RCS is that such messages are generally sent through a business ID rather than a phone number, giving consumers quick access to contact information.

With Capillary’s foray into RCS messaging brands across the globe can get started with their RCS account creation process. Capillary mandates that for any brand to run RCS campaigns, it is necessary to have an RCS account created first. The expert team ensures that the brand onboarding process is seamless so that they can leverage the full potential of this communication channel. Book a demo today if you would like to set up an RCS account and start reaping the benefits of this mesmerizing channel!

Top Loyalty Programs in the Changing Malaysian Loyalty Landscape 

Top Loyalty Programs in the Changing Malaysian Loyalty Landscape 

Like the rest of the world, brands in Malaysia were swift to accept the importance of customer data and leverage insights to drive their loyalty programs. The pandemic virtually upended conventional loyalty programs and Malaysian brands had to resort to innovative ways to retain customer loyalty. During the pandemic, Malaysians were drawn to discount heavy shopping offered by internet-based companies, which almost sidelined loyalty campaigns. However, post the pandemic, as discount offers tapered, loyalty programs again went on a rise indicating the affinity Malaysians have for loyalty engagements.

As Malaysia exercised resilience amidst adversities, the post-pandemic scenario in the region was synergisized with brands creating unique and personalized loyalty programs. In this blog, we will talk about 5 trend-setting loyalty programs in Malaysia and how these programs have adopted well with changing times to remain relevant and competitive.

5 Trend-setting loyalty programs in Malaysia

1. Grab Malaysia 

malaysian-customer-loyalty-post-pandemic

Grab proudly features itself as an ‘everyday everything app’ by Malaysians to provide value in varied verticals like food delivery and transport among others. Its loyalty program, GrabRewards’ prime feature is that they regard every  Grab wallet payment as an opportunity to earn points. GrabRewards has adapted well with the changing times and customer behavior by making its program relevant to all user categories through a seamless tier system. By deploying personalized communication of tier benefits, users are driven to upgrade to higher tiers to experience enhanced benefits.  While driving users to spend more, Grab was also mindful to ensure that its rewards and incentives are made accessible to its users through low entry points, which in turn, drives higher adoption. The brand was also quick to react to customer sentiments by offering extension of points validity with as low as 1 point earning to ensure customers kept all of their points active.

2. FoodPanda

FoodPanda is one of the largest food delivery platforms in Malaysia with extensive B2C offers. FoodPanda features Panda League, a popular loyalty program operating in the B2B space. Panda League is a unique rewards program that uses innovative and gamified methods to incentivize delivery agents for each order they fulfil. It enables delivery agents to redeem exclusive merchandise on a monthly basis. Such initiatives lift the spirit of delivery agents and motivates them to achieve more.

malaysian-customer-loyalty-post-pandemic

Panda League segregates the delivery partners into five tiers, Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze with varied privileges. The icing on the cake of the Panda League rewards program is that at the end of each quarter, the points would be collated and the outstanding delivery agent would receive grand prizes like motorbikes, gadgets and more.

3. Super Dining

malaysian-customer-loyalty-post-pandemic

Super Alliance by Super Dining is the official loyalty app for the leading group of Japanese restaurants and food specialty stores in Malaysia. Super Dining allows earning of loyalty points across its brand of Japanese restaurants in Malaysia. Customers need to display their mobile based QR identifier during the course of payment to earn points seamlessly. The program offers a variety of offers and cross brand vouchers redemption. This encourages its customers to transact across its brands while using a single currency. In fact, to avoid queuing at the restaurant, the app offers table booking via their loyalty app which is a noteworthy feature especially in pandemic times.

4. AirAsia BIG Rewards Program

air-asia-big-rewards

The AirAsia BIG Rewards Program started off as an airlines loyalty program and has expanded since then as a comprehensive super app that allows customers to earn points from various partners. It averages 500,000 sign-ups per month. Some key highlights of the AirAsia Rewards Program are as follows.

  • Exclusive partner promotions and offers: Leverage AirAsia BIG Rewards points across utilities like travel expenditures (via BigPay), lifestyle, points conversion across banks/loyalty programs, leisure activities, and AirAsia credit cards.
  • AirAsia xchange: The AirAsia xchange prides itself as ‘world’s first airline points exchange feature’ that allows it to convert AirAsia BIG Rewards points to partner points.

The AirAsia BIG Rewards Program is on a mission to democratise loyalty campaigns and make them a one-stop destination to leverage loyalty points ranging from flights to a variety of deals. Having won several prestigious rewards, the AirAsia BIG Rewards Program is a jewel in the crown of Malaysian loyalty programs.

5. MyTOWNKL Loyalty App

MyTOWN, a popular Malaysian mall with international brands and restaurants, cinemas, and leisure activities, is a landmark destination for adults and children alike. 

my-town-loyalty-app-malaysia

In a unique category featuring mall loyalty, MyTOWNKL app drives the MyTOWN loyalty program. The MyTOWNKL app makes shopping convenient for customers by updating them about the latest deals, events, and redeeming their rewards. The benefits of MyTOWN loyalty include – 

  • Earning common currency points from various mall tenants, which encourages affinity to the mall.
  • App-driven facility featuring QR identifier to earn and burn points for vouchers.
  • Seamless earn process across merchants to issue points with MyTOWN app instead of carrying out extensive PoS integrations.
  • Personalized engagement and latest information about mall events or major notices.

All new landscape of the Malaysian loyalty programs 

We have just scraped the tip of the iceberg in our exposition of renowned loyalty programs in Malaysia. Although mid-sized loyalty programs are currently in vogue in Malaysia, the stage is set for conglomerates to drive bigger loyalty engagements. Malaysia presents an ideal landscape, due to its progressive economy,  for large companies to showcase their presence and drive robust loyalty campaigns.

We have attempted to kindle your interest with a few instances focusing on Malaysian loyalty. Although we have strived to keep the discussion as a checklist, we ultimately aim to share the best practices adopted by some of the loyalty programs in Malaysia. In a nutshell, adoption is far overtaking acceptance of loyalty programs in Malaysia. Looking forward to leveraging the full potential of loyalty campaigns for your brand in Malaysia? Connect with our expert team today to find out more.

 

How to Design an Effective Conglomerate Loyalty Program

How to Design an Effective Conglomerate Loyalty Program

Consumers today are a devoted bunch of surfers alternating between devices, websites and channels in their shopping journeys. But the existing loyalty programs offered by brands pale in comparison as it is heavily reliant on redemption strategies of the past. Brands thus need a fluid partnership with other brands to drive next-gen loyalty programs. To define a few terminologies associated with conglomerate loyalty, multi-brand loyalty is also known as conglomerate loyalty. Another shade of multi-brand loyalty is coalition loyalty where non-competing brands work together to encourage cross-brand loyalty experiences.

A recent report by The Wise Marketer clearly emphasizes that better fortunes are forecasted for multi-brand loyalty in the ensuing years. When organizations collaborate to deliver a better loyalty experience, customer delight is enhanced since consumers are offered a wider array of brands to interact with. Corporates across the world are now looking forward to synergizing and delivering this experience to customers. With the availability of technologies like data science and artificial intelligence, the ground is set for organizations to deliver effective multi-brand loyalty programs. In this blog, we will discuss how brands can design an effective multi-brand loyalty program by analyzing key industry trends and cherry-picking the best practices. We would also cover a very crucial part which is – if your organization would stand a better chance to perform through a multi-brand loyalty or a standalone loyalty program. 

Trending multi-brand loyalty models marketers must know

With the availability of technology, pooling information has become easier and designing large systems has become simpler. Multi-brand loyalty is thus a sophisticated pact between brands that has to be efficiently handled to prevent deal breakers. There have been instances of making and breaking of renowned multi-brand loyalty programs across the globe. It is the incidents of organizations coming together to forge loyalty programs and eventually breaking up, providing an insight into what went wrong and forming pillars for design. Let’s take a look at the three models that multi-brand loyalty programs generally adopt for facilitating their loyalty campaigns. 

  • Third-party marketing company owns the technology and drives the campaign. The third-party company forms the program owner and the participating brands are the tenants. In recent times, this model is losing its prominence due to inherent drawbacks like the presence of a middle-man in the system.
  • A single large brand forms the program owner and other participating brands form the tenants. This model is currently in vogue and is recommended due to the absence of a middle-man to manage the multi-brand loyalty program.
  • The upcoming model is built around a decentralized SaaS technology platform. This model attempts to minimize manual intervention with the participating brands owning and managing a decentralized technology platform (which functions as the program owner). The decentralized model facilitated by SaaS has not been deployed widely and is still in the research phase.

program-owner-multi-brand-loyalty

8 steps to design a dynamic multi-brand loyalty program 

1. Get your objective right

The intent of coming together of brands towards a common loyalty program must be clearly defined. There need to be some common interests of enterprises that are willing to be a part of the same conglomerate. Brands that have a higher market value must bear lower program costs since marquee companies tend to attract more customers. The former example is just an eye-opener while defining the objective of the conglomerate which highlights the level of brainstorming required at this step.

2. Choose the ideal loyalty engine

Loyalty engines must be thoughtfully evaluated to ensure that they are well suited for a multi-brand loyalty program. The loyalty engine must be scalable and seamlessly allow adding or dropping of tenants. The tenants also require hardware integrations that permit basic features like enrolling new customers or identifying existing customers.

3. Introduce hierarchy between program owner and tenants

A clear approval chain must be established for all critical processes within the multi-brand loyalty ecosystem. The program owner could be entrusted with the highest authority. 

4. Identify conglomerate’s niche

Brands as part of the conglomerate must ideally be from varied verticals. Companies under the umbrella of multi-brand loyalty may share common interests but not the same offerings. Evidently, the varied verticals are to foster synergy and not cannibalization. Brands must create a win-win for each other and not thrive on each other’s failure. However, a different strategy must be adopted in the case of similar verticals.

5. Start small to build steadily

You can set up a pilot multi-brand loyalty program and take it to complete production when it runs seamlessly during the pilot stage. Brands must not ruthlessly add brands to the conglomerate unless there is a defined strategy.

6. Leverage from comprehensive data collection 

Customer data is an asset for multi-brand loyalty programs because here consumers drive the campaign. When customer data is pooled and leveraged from varied brands, the consumers can be treated with customized experiences and marketers can fetch varied purchasing patterns.

7. Ensure seamless management of large databases 

In a multi-brand loyalty program, there would be several instances where some brands would want to run individual loyalty campaigns. Such brands would need to upload and maintain several documents. The process of uploading and managing large databases must be seamless. 

multi-brand-loyalty

8. Keep the cross-brand journey intuitive and enjoyable 

The flow of points awarded to customers must be intuitive, for instance, awarding loyalty points that can be redeemed for mobile accessories soon after shopping a mobile device. Incentivization that has a purpose and is relatively dynamic builds better emotional connection with the customers when compared to regular offers.

Leading conglomerates empowered by Capillary

Capillary’s impeccable expertise in multi-brand loyalty enables conglomerates to step up their business by deploying robust loyalty strategies in today’s data-driven world. Campaigns driven by our experts upscale customer enrolment and engagement. Let’s look at some of the notable conglomerate loyalty initiatives empowered by Loyalty+ and their key highlights:

  • Al-Futtaim Group’s Blue Rewards program

Al-Futtaim Group is a UAE based conglomerate, operating several companies in sectors like automotive, retail, real estate and finance. The group’s Blue Rewards loyalty program, an app based program, allows members to view details of the overall points earned, cashbacks, personalized offers, or brand promotions. The  BLUE Loyalty app powered by Capillary Loyalty Platform has recorded several thousand downloads in a short time and exhibited a significant improvement in their redemption rates.

AFG-multi-brand-loyalty-program

  • VIG’s Tap Tap program

Vietnam Investments Group (VIG) is a private equity firm that focuses on high-growth businesses in Vietnam like manufacturing, transportation, tourism, education, retail, technology, and financial services. The Group’s Tap Tap loyalty app enables all its members to earn and redeem points from other brands in the same group. The mobile-based conglomerate loyalty program has unified over 600 stores and e-commerce sites to offer a fully omnichannel loyalty experience for its customers. For instance, Tap Tap has connected over 32 F&B and entertainment brands.

VIG-multi-brand-loyalty-program

Multi-brand loyalty programs growing larger in future 

If you are looking forward to building a multi-brand loyalty program, note that the steps explained above are subjective and multi-brand loyalty often needs to be designed depending on the brand objective, strategy and goals. To quote a few recent instances of successful multi-brand loyalty programs, such cooperative loyalty programs have thrived in the aviation industry. Multi-brand loyalty programs such as Star Alliance, SkyTeam and Oneworld offer its customers a facility to coordinate their loyalty points with other airlines. The marketing outreach that is leveraged through multi-brand loyalty programs is clearly reflected in such alliances. 

The future is definitely prosperous for multi-brand loyalty programs. In the past, few renowned multi-brand loyalty programs might have failed for unique reasons like geographic separation of the brands as part of the program. Customers had to commute to diverse locations to redeem their points. Brands have now realized the need to be cooperative and the idea to stay united under an umbrella brand has evolved. Many different brands welcome the idea to share physical spaces and leverage multi-brand loyalty. It won’t be surprising that in a matter of time, multi-brand loyalty will be all set to revolutionize retailing. Capillary’s tie-up with Sonak’s group to power the latter’s digital loyalty program makes for an interesting read. Sonak Group is a Philippine retail group endeavoring to boost its sales across brands with Capillary’s support. Looking forward to leveraging the full potential of multi-brand loyalty for your brand? Connect with our expert team today to find out more.