Amid a cost of living crisis, during which the pockets of consumers are feeling the pinch and merchants’ budgets are being squeezed, brand loyalty has never been more important.
Airtime Rewards, a data-led loyalty and rewards platform, incentivises consumers to shop while enabling retailers to acquire and retain shoppers. To learn more about the company and its offerings, we sat down with Josh Graham, co-founder and chief marketing officer.
Tell us more about your company and its offering
Airtime Rewards is a fintech company with roots in the world of mobile marketing and retail loyalty. Our journey started in retail loyalty and mobile marketing even before mobile apps were a thing, with the goal of leaning into the untapped potential of mobile networks to create a new currency for smartphone users to offset their phone bills.
As we grew, we developed an innovative technology which powers a simple and efficient rewards program, with our platform acting as a bridge connecting consumers, retailers, and mobile networks. Through this, we offer frictionless and innovative rewards to all involved parties.
What problem was your company set up to solve?
We’re all about simplifying the process of accessing offers and saving money on mobile phone bills, while helping retailers accrue and retain new customers. We’ve made it easy for our members to redeem the rewards they earn and get money back, without the usual complexities. When signing up, all you need is your phone number, and we’ll take care of deducting discounts directly from your phone bills. It’s a win-win for both retailers and customers.
Our inclusive approach ensures that everyone, no matter their technical expertise, can enjoy the benefits of saving money while shopping with ease and convenience. We take pride in being a user-friendly and efficient platform for retailers and members alike.
We also know that loyalty is key for retailers; customers expect personalisation so it’s fundamental they understand their customers. To address this, we wanted to provide targeted customer segmentation with our intelligent data, to help them accrue and retain new customers.
Since launch, how has your company evolved?
We’ve come a long way since our launch in 2015. Starting as a retail loyalty company, we have evolved into a marketing technology platform, driven by transactional data.
Our aim is to expand into new regions and empower retailers to target and incentivise customers more effectively. We want to be the platform that drives sales and provides retailers with valuable insights into their customer base and purchasing behaviours, all through extensive transactional technology.
What has been the biggest challenge or most ‘tricky moment’ to overcome?
As a co-founder, one of the most challenging moments for us was gaining initial traction and convincing retailers to join our platform. It was a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation, where we needed both retailers and consumers to come on board simultaneously for our business model to thrive.
Overcoming this demanded relentless effort and innovative thinking. We had to sell our unique concept to retailers, demonstrating to them the benefits our technology could bring to their businesses. We knew we had to demonstrate value from different perspectives to gain their trust.
Partnering with major mobile networks proved to be a game-changer. It not only boosted our credibility but also helped us gain significant traction in the market and build trust with potential retailers.
What are your biggest achievements or ‘proudest moments’ so far?
Looking back on our journey, I feel incredibly proud of the many milestones we’ve reached. These moments are a testament to the dedication of our team’s hard work and the unwavering support of our three million members and 150+ retailer partners to date.
Reaching the one-millionth redemption in December 2021 was a major milestone for us. Seeing the satisfaction our members experience is truly fulfilling and motivates us to push even further.
Celebrating £1billion in incentivised spend in November last year was another incredible achievement that showcased the effectiveness and value of our platform for retailers, as well as the high engagement of our growing member base.
Most recently, in June this year we welcomed our three millionth member onto our platform. Our expanding community has become the heart of what drives our growth, and their trust inspires us to keep innovating and delivering the best rewards.
How would you describe the culture of your company?
Our company culture is all about a shared passion and mission. We are genuinely enthusiastic about the rewards we offer because we know they make a meaningful impact in people’s lives – especially in times like these when consumer finances are being squeezed by the cost of living crisis. This passion is evident in every aspect of our business, from our product development process to how we prioritise exceptional customer experiences.
We value the input and vision of each team member and believe that everyone contributes significantly to our success. Inclusivity fosters a sense of ownership and belonging, making us all feel like valued contributors to the company’s growth. Our culture also embraces innovation and a fast-paced mindset. We love being a disruptive force in our industry, always seeking new and better ways to improve our product and services.
What’s in store for the future
We have ambitious plans to grow our rewards technology and currency on a global scale, giving customers worldwide the opportunity to benefit from Airtime Rewards. Our goal is to become the market-leading marketing technology platform for major retailers, offering innovative and effective solutions to meet their needs. We’re also really excited about introducing a premium account tier with exclusive features and benefits for our most valued members as a part of this.
Looking ahead, hyper-personalisation and hyper-relevance is our main focus for both our retailer partners and members. Putting them at the heart of what we do requires us to constantly evolve our functionality to ensure all our partners are getting relevant insights and rewards based on their needs.
We envision a future where we strengthen our global presence and continue to lead the industry in providing exceptional rewards and benefits to our members and retailers alike.