Article first published in Forbes Monaco September/October 2020 issue.
A new cashback programme made easy by Monaco resident Simon Piggott.
Incentive programs are nothing new. The first loyalty scheme dates back to 1793, when a U.S. merchant gave customers copper tokens that they could collect and exchange for in-store items.In 1896, Sperry & Hutchinson Co. in Alabama incentivized shoppers with H&S Green Stamps, and at the height of popularity over 90 years, this marketing campaign was used by 80% of American households.
By the time H&S Green Stamps eventually faded out in the Eighties, American Airlines had already come out with first “modern” frequent flyers rewards (1981) and, five years later, a “cashback” credit card had hit the market from Discover Financial Services, a division of Morgan Stanley.
These days, 90% of companies have some sort of loyalty program in the U.S., and there are 3.3 billion memberships, according to Accenture, who revealed that 57% of consumers spend more on brands to which they are loyal.
“Cashback and loyalty incentives have existed in the consumer space for a very long time,” agrees Simon Piggott, co-founder of the soon to be unveiled easyCashback, “but none have been created for 35 companies or with a truly European target, which makes our platform unique.”
EasyCashback is the newest member of the easyGroup, the holding company established in 1995 by easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji- Ioannou. This Orange Empire has been built on name recognition with roughly 35 operational “easy” branded companies and over 2,500 registered trademarks, including gyms, dog walking, property, home energy, investment banking—and even hemp.
“The easyCashback loyalty program will give its customers great cashback offers among many of the existing easy brands,” Sir Stelios comments, “as well as online and offline merchants on a Pan-European basis in line with our ‘more for less’ brand philosophy.”
“To become part of the easyGroup, I think entrepreneurs need to be technologically innovative and offer great value to customers for the many and not the few,” says Piggott, 55, who moved to the Principality in 1996 after years of heading the international department for Moncada di Paternò, Italy’s oldest yacht broker. When he finally relocated permanently, he did so in the capacity of setting up a European team at Merrill Lynch and subsequently at HSBC and Lloyds Bank.
Due to launch in October, the easyCashback loyalty program is the co-creation of Simon Piggott, Monaco resident and long-time friend, Sir Stelios and Patrick Jisander, who helped develop a “cashrefunder” platform between Sweden and the U.K.
Existing easy customers (there were over 90 million easyJet passengers in 2019) will have the prospect of cashback and redemption options via a digital wallet and virtual card solution. Members can chose between a free entry level and a Premium level fee based subscription (€15/£15), the latter of which yields a higher cashback of at least 10% on goods and services both on and offline. There is no annual earnings cap or expiration date for accumulated e-cash for either membership. “We will give customers the opportunity to use the cash accumulated with unique promotions and advantages from partners like easyJet, easyHotels and the other easy brands, as well as purchases on other online and offline merchants, like restaurants and supermarkets” Piggott explains.
He adds, “In order to go to market and differentiate ourselves from other players, we need to have a strong brand identity and exploit it on a European scale. Establishing easyCashback within the easy family means we can cross-pollinate all the existing independently managed brands of the Group. As an example, easyJet travellers and the users of all the other easy brands will have great advantages and cashback options wherever the airline has destinations.”
The timing couldn't be better as the Covid health crisis has created a boom in online purchasing. Forthe three months to the end of June2020, Amazon recorded a record-breaking $5.2 billion in net income as confinement drove sales of thee-commerce giant 40% higher, year-on-year, to $88.9 billion.
This plays well for entrepreneur Piggott, who is an investor also in Titomirov, the world’s first alkaline vodka with a formula that eliminates hangovers and he specified that the trio’s goal is to become the pre-eminent Europeancashback platform by “offering more for less” by creating a circular economy in the easy marketplace.
“With a serious economic downturn and lay-offs increasing in this coming fourth quarter, we see the opportunity of giving back to the customer from the simple act of going to the supermarket and buying essentials to larger ticket items,” he conveys.
“Who would say no to receiving cash back?” he asks.
Especially when it is this “easy”.