Payback to strengthen its travel footprint

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on January 09, 2018

Gautam Kaushik, CEO, PAYBACK

Loyalty programme provider Payback will look to focus on partnerships and offerings in the travel segment apart from financial services and specialised retail. It is also exploring a first of its kind loyalty programme for malls and airport.

The idea is to shore up its GMV by 30 per cent from the existing ₹100,000 crore in 2018. GMV, in this case, will refer to all the sales that get incentivised through Payback.

Payback India (branded as ‘PAYBACK’) — a joint venture between ICICI Bank and American Express — has nearly 110 million customers (those who redeem loyalty points) on board.

According to Gautam Kaushik, CEO, PAYBACK, the company has invested heavily in technological capabilities and marketing platforms. It has almost tripled the investments in technology in 2017 as compared to previous years.

“We are hopeful of growing our GMV by at least 25-30 per cent in 2018,” he told BusinessLine.

The company’s earnings are mostly from fee-based services from verticals such as data analytics and management, performance monitoring and redemptions. It reported revenues of over ₹200 crore for FY17.

“We have been growing at a CAGR of over 49 per cent for the last five years. Alternatively, you can say our revenues have grown ten-fold since 2011. We aim to continue on the same growth trajectory in the near to mid-term,” he added.

Adding Partners

According to Kaushik, the company intends to add 10-15 more partners in 2018 to its existing portfolio of 50 that includes the likes of Future Group, Tripadvisor, e-tailers such as eBay, ticket-booking site, BookMyShow and so on. It also intends to tie-up with banks to tap their credit card users. Currently, ICICI Bank and Am-Ex are the two it has on board.

However, the next major phase of growth is being targeted from neighbourhood stores and mono-brand outlets that have a point-of-sale machine. The overall loyalty programme market in India is still at a nascent stage.

For example, a retailer spends ₹1 out of every ₹100 of sales towards loyalty programs. Customer redemption is just about 35 paise. However, in comparison, a developed market like Germany sees a redemption rate of 95 paise on every ₹1 spent towards loyalty programs by retailers.

E–Wallet services

Loyalty programmes are driven by in-house offerings from brands, retail chains and the hotels and hospitality sector; and, offline sales. E-commerce, which operate on a deep discounting model, has few takers (for loyalty programmes). But e-wallet services continue to be dominant driver; especially, the cash-back programs.

Accordingly, Payback is not averse to the possibility of having its own wallet services, if it makes business sense, Kaushik pointed out.

“We are evaluating the nitty-gritty and whether it makes sense for us to enter the e-wallet space. Over the next one year or so,that is in 2018, we will be firming up plans and take a call,” he added.

Published on December 31, 2017

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