Bink Award: Top 5 Retail Tech Companies in the UK 2021

Guest post originally published on Retail Tech Insights

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Bink reimagining customer loyalty

Today’s retailers are operating on a playing field that is more challenging than ever before. Not only are they up against peers who may be selling similar products for less, but they are also dealing with innovative apps and services that make it easy for consumers to find other deals or alternatives.

Furthermore, the Information Age has provided customers with various opportunities and choices, making them less likely to remain loyal to one brand. Whilst a natural reaction to such trends would be to slash prices or offer monetary perks, these methods won’t produce sustainable retail success.

Let’s consider some of the common trends among retailers when looking to the future: they want to reach more customers, gain better insights into these customers, and use these insights to build ways to keep their customers loyal. A fintech company that is helping retailers in this quest is the UK-based Bink.

Bink has developed an intelligent technology that enables a customer’s payment card to function as a loyalty card for retail brands. This unique, payment-linked- loyalty technology allows customers to be identified and rewarded every time they pay with their linked payment cards. And it means that retailers finally get to put a face to a name and build real customer insights around their shoppers in a truly seamless way, no matter what channel they are shopping in.

Creating a Seamless Customer Experience

A few years ago, one of the founders of Bink went to a large retailer and experienced a eureka moment: why couldn’t loyalty be as simple as paying with your bank card? Leveraging the first-principles design process, they developed Bink, a unique platform for retailers to offer their customers a new way of earning rewards and managing those, without the need to carry dozens of cards around with them. “The entire goal was to evolve loyalty the same way payments are evolving, and to make it simpler and more effective,” says Mike Jordan, Bink’s Chief Executive.

The entire goal was to evolve loyalty the same way payments are evolving, and to make it simpler and more effective

Removing the Friction for the Checkout

“Our technology has the highest level of system performance in terms of resiliency and latency; and that has enabled banks to trust us as a provider of technology, and empowered retailers simultaneously to see the benefits of integrating with our low- lift technology,” asserts Jordan. Bink has proved to be a boon in the post- pandemic retail environment. With the rise in contactless payments, Apple Pay and other digital wallets, there was a growing need to take the friction out of the checkout experience. Against this backdrop, traditional loyalty programmes—which require a consumer to firstly learn that a loyalty programme exists, then to sign up or take a plastic card, and then use the plastic card every time they shop—are less effective. “That’s the pain point that we solve for the retailers: how can they create a first principles design approach to a modern loyalty scheme with very low friction for the consumer and be conscious of less contact and interaction in the post-pandemic world?” says Jordan.

Reaching Millions of Customers

More recently, Bink secured a significant investment from Barclays, which will help accelerate its growth and reach a wider audience than ever before. Through this partnership with Bink, the millions of users of the Barclays app are now able to manage their favourite rewards programmes in the app they are already using. They can link their loyalty cards or join new programmes – and automatically earn rewards and other benefits – simply by paying with their linked Barclays payment card. This further increases the impact of Bink’s technology solution for retailers, by putting their brand in front of millions of new customers. With Bink having already gone live with Barclays, news on the next bank is imminent.

To further elaborate on the capabilities of the Bink app, Jordan shares the story of Wasabi, a highly successful sushi and bento to-go restaurant chain based in the U.K. While Wasabi already had a loyalty programme, it was not having the impact that Wasabi wanted. They approached Bink for a more straightforward solution that recognised and quickly rewarded a customer every time they purchased. “With our unique technology, we allowed customers to link the loyalty programme to their payment cards through the Barclays mobile banking environment. From there, it was as simple as recognising that card every time it was used to pay for an order from the restaurant – automatically rewarding the transaction,” explains Jordan. Not only did this result in greater ROI for Wasabi, but it also allowed customers toearn their rewards seamlessly. For both Wasabi and its customers, it was a win- win situation.

It is as simple as recognising a card every time it is used to pay and automatically rewarding the transaction

An Innovative Solution to Customer Loyalty

With success stories such as these, Bink continues to grow exponentially with each passing year. One of the things the organisation is looking forward to is helping retailers big and small; those with both an online and offline presence engage more seamlessly with their customers. “We are hoping to make our technology more accessible for smaller retailers, so that they can become a part of our network,” states Jordan. In addition, the company is currently talking to other banks to bring them onto its network. “We are in discussions with leading financial institutions and retailers across the globe about revolutionising the way people engage with loyalty and customer engagement programmes in their markets. Keep an ear out for announcements from us in the coming months,” says Jordan.