In just five years Zapper has changed the face of South African consumer convenience, as a game changer in the fintech sector
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Josh Mann
In an ever-changing fintech world, the need to remain flexible and open to diversification is critical, and few companies epitomise this ethos better in Africa than Zapper.
Launching in 2013, the Company has evolved from relatively humble beginnings in the payment platform space, catering for the hospitality sector in the main, to a multi-faceted platform providing a multitude of merchants the ability to market directly to their own customers.
In just five years, Zapper’s reach has broadened to more than 16,000 businesses across South Africa, each embracing the Company’s accessible business model, yet completely agile approach to continuous improvement.
“These businesses have embraced Zapper as an alternative payment method and rewards platform,” adds the Company’s Head of Marketing and Communications, Jessica Fowlds. “Zapper’s vouchering, loyalty programme and customer insights platform help businesses attract customers, while also providing a measurable, direct marketing channel.
“More than one million people use the app to pay in restaurants, fill up their cars with fuel, make donations to charity, pay bills and shop online.”
Such scope and widespread application derives from a conscious business strategy to make consumers’ lives and retail interactions as convenient and secure as possible; performing transactions without worrying about carrying physical cash or even using more traditional debit and credit cards.
“We aim to create a lifestyle of convenience in the palm of your hand,” Fowlds affirms.
Fast, easy and secure payments
Zapper’s expansion over the past five years is perfectly represented by the remit and portfolio on offer in the present day, evidenced by five core pillars of service provision and consumer retention.
Firstly, comes Zapper for the merchant, as Fowlds details: “Zapper integrates with a merchant POS system to generate a printed or electronic Dynamic QR code, which is scanned by a customer using the Zapper App to make a payment. Each QR Code generated is unique, containing invoice value and transaction-identity data related to specific purchases. Zapper allows businesses access to a digital marketing portal enabling them to gather rich data about their customers spending habits as well as communicate with their database.
“Collectively, the Zapper Marketing Platform empowers merchants to deepen their relationship with their customers, sustainably gathering knowledge about their preferences, and enabling one-to-one communication that is personal and relevant.”
From a customer acquisition perspective, merchants can be discovered by potential customers via the Zapper Nearby feature. And inevitably, the next stage focuses on retaining these attained customers.
Fowlds says: “From a customer retention perspective, Zapper allows businesses to reward existing customers by sending vouchers directly to their Zapper app or by running a digital loyalty card. Zapper’s voucher distribution and redemption process is entirely seamless during the payment process.
“Zapper loyalty programmes provide merchants with a technology leapfrog solution to customer acquisition and retention. Customers earn rewards for aligning with specific behaviours set by the merchant, with their cards updated automatically with payment in the Zapper app.”
The loyalty card system comprises spend-based, visit-based or line-item loyalty cards which assist in increasing customer frequency, spend and product interest. On completion of a loyalty card, a customer is automatically rewarded with a voucher. Customers consequently have the ability to communicate with the merchant through Zapper’s Rate and Review functionality in real time, enabling merchants to respond immediately.
Ultimate security is assured across each strand of the process, Zapper’s transactions processed by one of the most advanced fraud systems in the world.
And ultimately this ensures overall satisfaction for the user.
Fowlds concludes the list: “For the consumer, the Zapper mobile application allows users to make fast, easy and secure payments with their smartphone. Zapper’s reach extends across international borders including South Africa, the UK, USA and Europe; allowing for successful transacting across all major currencies.
“Users have access to loyalty cards and vouchers within the app which makes paying with Zapper even more rewarding.”
At the forefront
Virtue of its multi-stranded functions and benefits, the Zapper app naturally attracts customers who are highly mobile, tech savvy and who have discretionary spend.
Once again displaying an aptitude for diversification and trend adherence, the move has been away from its traditional hospitality focus, and towards other aforementioned verticals including retail, fuel and convenience, ecommerce and bill payments.
And from this vast outlook, the Company can then turn its attentions towards the capabilities of the app itself, applying modern and advanced ideologies to bring technological prevalence to each of the above sectors’ users.
Fowlds offers a poignant example: “In an age of ever-increasing amounts of data, the ability to monitor, aggregate, process and drive business insights from this information is of critical value in all areas of business. This information allows Zapper to benefit merchants and users alike, as businesses can target loyal users with relevant marketing campaigns.
“Zapper also continually monitors the uptake of new methods of payment in South Africa as well as loyalty-focused apps.”
Recent additions to the offering have also comprised vouchers incorporated into the app, with loyalty cards coming soon after; making Zapper’s the only app in South Africa to address value-added services in conjunction with payments and seamless redemptions.
“Being a fintech start-up, there is a large requirement for ongoing investment in development to ensure that we continue to compete at the forefront of our industry,” Fowlds encompasses.
A game-changer in the lifestyle, payment industry
Ensuring the smooth introduction of each new value-added function is a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce, overseen by a management team of seasoned professionals comprising backgrounds in marketing, mobile app development, payment processing and mobile encryption.
“This enables us to complete large-scale transaction processing for businesses,” Fowlds notes. “We operate as a family and aim to make Zapper a great place to work.”
Keeping all elements of the Zapper hierarchy and operation content is no mean feat considering the rapid speed in which it is expanding. However, it is achieved largely through close collaborations with key business partners; the resultant combinations working together to deliver secure, interoperable, convenient payment systems to bring the Company closer to a cashless world. All our partners are pivotal to the operation of our business, from banks, payment gateways, POS companies, telcos and more.
Partner interactions are just a carry-on from one of Zapper’s key differentiators, in the form of its passion for people, and subsequent personability. Customer service has been at the forefront of the business since inception, borne from an understanding of how important it is to merge human characteristics, requirements and personalities with technology.
Fowlds concludes: “Our team is passionate about helping each and every one of our merchants grow their businesses through Zapper. We believe that our team is key to the success of the business; and our business is a game-changer in the lifestyle, payment industry.
“From this point, we hope to be the leader in payments and loyalty within South Africa, creating ubiquity across all verticals related to a user’s everyday lifestyle. Our current goals are to grow our footprint within the retail sector, and to build better insights and superior relationships with our partners.”