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Jul 28, 2015 9:26 EST

Phlok: a co-operative loyalty & payments platform that uses digital currency worth real money to incentivise & reward consumers

iCrowdNewswire - Jul 28, 2015

Phlok

Phlok

 

The Idea

Phlok Benefits

Phlok for Business

Phlok facilitates consumer driven marketing to create more visibility for merchants amidst the might of the High Street Multiples. 

Automatically build a database of local people that may or may not have shopped with you previously and have the ability to market to them personally and privately.

Easily promote your services or products to the local Phlok community.

Gain consistent brand awareness from your customers phlok point collecting activities. 

Accept digital payments with ZERO transaction fees.

Phlok provides a digital strategy for independents that is built on three pillars, Collaboration – Visibility -Sustainabilty

 

Phlok for Consumers – A digital wallet

The Phlok app combines a digital wallet that you can attach your debit or credit card to, with a local newsfeed to see who and where your friends shop and what your favourite businesses are selling.

  • Collect phlok points by following, checking in or purchasing with participating businesses using the Phlok app or on the web at phlok.com. Points are stored in the Phlok app digital wallet.
  • Spend points using Phlok’s digital wallet in store, paying with phlok points attracts extra points, which is why attaching your card is beneficial.
  • Discover new and interesting businesses nearby.
  • Phlok makes ‘Shop Local’ make sense.

 

Progress

We had revenues in 2014 of £220k, there are 1,500 business premises listed on Phlok 600 of them member businesses (revenue generating) and 30,000 consumer accounts. 

We have been featured on Sky News http://news.sky.com/story/1226399/social-media-could-save-the-high-street

And on RTE where Sligo Chamber were featured about their adoption of Phlok in their town https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiwwpCJS_dw

 

Overview

American Express commissioned the retail research agency Conlumino to create ‘The Value of Collaboration’ Report in 2014, it states that local businesses that work together on joint marketing and loyalty programmes can generate on average an extra £30,000 per year. This validates the co-operative fundamentals that Phlok is built on.  http://www.amexshopsmall.co.uk/update–1.html

Around the world Independent businesses are finding it ever more difficult to build sustainable businesses. Large chain stores and e-commerce companies are drawing customers from Independent businesses in town centres (businesses that have little or no marketing budgets or strategy).  Brand awareness campaigns from large companies are consistent and relentless and get into the forefront of consumer minds at the expense of local independent businesses.

Business Associations, Chambers of Commerce and local Councils launch Shop Local campaigns and in our opinion they find it difficult to maintain them or get measurable results. They are usually run voluntarily and rely on one of two largely ineffective strategies: 1. Make local people feel guilty about shopping in the large out of town supermarket, e.g. ‘Use us or Lose us’ or ‘Save our Shops’ messages or 2. Encourage businesses to discount to encourage more footfall which usually is unsustainable. 

We can help merchants develop a long term sustainability strategy with our merchant funded platform. It combines digital currency with a powerful CRM (database) that connects them with local consumers, even if they haven’t been a customer yet. The database fills with people that follow their business even if they haven’t shopped there yet. A consumer can only follow a business if they are within a 30 mile radius of it so connections are genuinely local.

 

Phlok Points and user engagement

Phlok points can be collected and spent with any member merchant on Phlok in any town. When points are collected, the consumer broadcasts their activity with the donating merchant on the Phlok network (and other social networks).

Phlok charges fees for membership and for pre-purchasing points for customers to collect.

Merchants add money to their Phlok profile which Phlok converts to points worth real money. Consumers collect points by making purchases, checking in or following the merchant, consumers can connect their debit and credit cards to the app and Pay with Phlok as much as they wish. There are extra points for them when they do.

This consumer activity creates visibility and helps create a vibrancy about their town on social networks which aims to create real value for the consumer while galvinising bonds between business owners.

Phlok is designed to stimulate interest, grow footfall and encourage repeat purchase all without requiring businesses to discount. The message is that the town/business has invested in a program that rewards community support. We believe collaboration between business owners creates visibility & breeds sustainability for local businesses.

 

Context

We went to market at the end of 2012 and in 2013 focused on a direct sales model to gain knowledge. This evolved in 2014 into working with Chambers and groups of businesses and developed the collaborative strategy. In 2015 we have been developing our platform to become a pre pay Software as a Service (SaaS) organisation to allow more efficient accelerated growth, less dependent on direct sales people. 

 

How Phlok Started

Phlok as a concept was born from work I was doing with some new local businesses, helping get them started listening to their owners talking about Facebook and how they couldn’t get ‘likes’ on their business page. They weren’t very sexy businesses and it was obvious why people weren’t interested in following them. So originally, the question I had was, ‘how do you make social media easier and more profitable for local less interesting businesses’. As I started to work with many businesses it became clear that the real issue was that business for independents was getting tougher. Everything works against them, lack of time, resource, knowledge, money and patience in a world of large corporations needing to earn more money for shareholder profits, adopting technology first, and marketing every more aggressively. I wanted to build something that enabled them to fight back. Something that was just for them, to help fight the cause that I believe is so important to the fabric of our town centres and the largest employer and contributor to our local economies. http://www.ilsr.org/key-studies-why-local-matters/

 

Funding to date

580k invested by Angels, 183k by InvestNI and £120k by the founder Paul Graham.

We are raising £220,000 to develop our freemium SaaS strategy and to set up a pilot in USA. We expect to raise Series A funds beyond this. 

Next round

The management team plan to raise a further £1,000,000 early 2016 to scale the sales model in UK and USA.

Contact Information:

Paul Graham
Kelvin Mackay
Senan McGonigle

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