Retail Jan, 17 2013

Adding punch to retail biz

By Namita Bhagat
Adding punch to retail biz

Using the power of mobile apps and web platform to drive customer loyalty and increase business opportunity and potential in the retail sector, Local Punched, an innovative international concept has launched in India. In an interview, Rajeev Agarwal, CEO, Local Punched Pvt. Ltd shares company’s franchise expansion plans in India.

Namita Bhagat (NB): Brief us on the concept of Local Punched? What is the brand’s USP?  Rajeev Agarwal (RA): Local Punched is the first and only ‘Mobile App Rewards Punch Card’ in India. It is an innovative international concept from the United States that uses the power of mobile apps and web platform to drive customer loyalty and increase business opportunity and potential in the retail sector. The powerful interactive mobile loyalty card program on the customer’s mobile phone is first of its kind in India. The concept’s USPs are many such as it helps a company to increased reach and engagement with customers over digital and social media, cut down on expenses and hassles on plastic reward card programs.  It enables customers to have 24x7 access to the loyalty programs on their mobile and create own mobile loyalty program in minutes and print own unique QR code. As customers achieve rewards, the Local Punched App automatically posts about the company’s business on social media like Facebook and Twitter.

NB: Could you share the company’s current presence in Indian market and its business model?

RA: Local Punched is functioning in India through its corporate office in Noida. We are currently developing our franchise/reseller network in all Metros and Tier I cities in India. There will be a media launch of ‘Local Punched Mobile App’ in the Q1 of FY 2013. Our business model is as follows: Local Punched works on city wise Franchise model where it will provide the technology and the license to use that particular software to Franchises in every Metro & Tier I cities. The Franchises will add the local retail businesses of their respective cities to the ‘Local Punched Mobile Loyalty Punch Card Program’.

NB: What factors motivated to select franchise business model? How do you think franchising will contribute in brand’s development?

RA: After successfully launching the ‘Local Punched Mobile Loyalty Punch Card Program’ in US, UK, Australia andNewzeland, the biggest challenge in India was to cater to the one billion consumer strength and 13 million retailers in the country. Selecting a franchise business model will help in reaching out to the local retailers and the end users in a more controlled manner.

As each of the franchises will have to operate exclusively in their defined territory, more number of franchises will help in having ‘Local Punched’s presence in more number of cities and thus creating a Brand Awareness to the end consumers.

NB: What all products and/or services does the brand offer? What are the price segments and clientele to which the brand caters to?

RA: As of now ‘Local Punched’ is offering Customized software (Web Based and Mobile App ) for Mobile Loyalty Punch Card Programs to the corporate clients and the ‘Local Punched’ native mobile App for the end users. Currently the ‘Local Punched’ native mobile App is FREE for I Phone and Android users with App coming soon for Symbian and Blackberry users also.

Besides, for small retailers, we are offering Mobile Loyalty Punch Card Programs along with the website designing and hosting services and the services starts from as low as Rs.999 to Rs.4999 per month.

NB: Kindly share the brand’s further expansion plans via franchising in India? What are the target cities for expansion?

RA: As per the current strategy for India, we’ll be covering the six metros in the first phase and gradually will be covering the Tier I cities and the state capitals in the second phase of expansion.

NB: What is the area and capital needed to partner with Local Punchcard as franchisee?

RA:  To become a Local Punched franchisee, the licensing fees is Rs 5 lakh and the set up cost varies depending on the area and office size.

NB: What are the qualities you are looking for in your franchisees? What kind of training and support will you offer to the franchise partners?

RA: Our ideal franchisees would be  people who are already in franchise/distribution business of telecom companies, share broking farms/banking and insurance companies etc, marketing companies, financially stable investors/ entrepreneurs with keenness in the this category and people in distribution business in durables or retail sector. Besides, mutual comfort The qualities we look for in our partners include ability and knowledge to run the business, ease of conversion, service sales capability, quality of delivery, customer service, capital resource, vision and network strength. We support our franchise partners through training and assistance marketing materials and markeitng aids, proprietary software, operations consulting, dedicated  help line, technical support for retailers and users, ongoing research and development.

NB: What are the challenges and competition for the brand in India? How would you overcome them?

RA: Till now there is no direct competition for Local Punched in India or in the world. However in countries like USA and Canada, there are some local players in Mobile Loyalty Programs. In India, there are some existing customer loyalty programs but those are mostly plastic card-based programs.

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