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Living Case“B Infinite”
I.IntroductionBerjaya Corporation Berhad (http://www.berjaya.com/) is one of the largest conglomerates in Malaysia.The company has over 30,000 employees globally and generates over RM32 billion (AUS 9.6 billion) inglobal revenue. The company is listed on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad (ticker:BJCORP – 3395). Berjaya has a very diverse range of businesses across many different industries,including: consumer marketing, property development & investment, resorts, gaming & lotterymanagement, food and beverage, financial services, motor and education. The primary focus of thisliving case is to develop a strategy and execution plan for BLoyalty Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiaryof Berjaya Corporation Berhad that runs and manages the B Infinite customer loyalty program(https://www.binfinite.com.my/). The goal of the project is to provide proposals on how B Infinite canaddress the following strategic initiatives:Enhancing the commercial returns of thedivisionSupport product and serviceexpansionSupport internationalexpansionII.BInfiniteB Infinite is an omni-channel multi-partner customer reward platform. Similar to other types of rewardprograms, the idea behind B Infinite is to reward customer repeat purchases and to encourage loyaltybyproviding various benefits and rewards which accrue to the customer.1The current primary revenuesource for B Infinite is payments from merchants that sign up to participate in the program. A secondarysource of revenue for B Infinite is service fees from merchants and non-merchants (e.g. research surveypanels, insurance companies, data aggregators/brokers) that pay B Infinite in exchange for the ability toleverage and exploit the data treasure throve of B Infinite’s customer base. Aside from a few exceptionsthat are merchant-benefits driven (some merchants offer additional benefits above and beyond BInfinite in exchange for a joining fee), B Infinite in principle does not charge individual customers anyjoining/ subscription fees to be a member of the platform. B Infinite aims to provide merchants withseamless loyalty marketing support and consultancy services by continuous improvement of technology,analytic services and other loyalty related support. Initially B Infinite was launched as a physical card asloyalty mobile apps were still in their infancy and physical cards utilized the same widely accepted cardterminal/ point of sale equipment’s that merchants were familiar with. At this time the program wascalled BCARD. However, in 2016 the program switched its focus from a physical card to a mobile appand the name was changed to B Infinite to reflect its journey away from physicalcards.B Infinite was founded in 2010 and currently has 30 employees, largely based in Kuala Lumpur. B Infinitecurrently operates in Malaysia with plans to expand across the ASEAN region. In particular, there is aplan to launch the product in the Philippines and Singapore. In Malaysia, the company has nearly 6million member accounts and has partnerships with over 80 merchants across 10 industries with over4000 locations. Many of the merchants are other companies within the Berjaya Corporation Group.1Alvarez, J.B. & Sessia A. (2011). Customer Loyalty Schemes in the Retail Sector, Harvard Business Publishing (9-511-077).
Thus, B Infinite has the potential to create synergy across the group by increasing the revenue of othercompanies in Berjaya.Traditionally reward programs have been thought to provide several different benefits to firms.2First,loyalty programs can help merchants gain a greater share of their clients purchases by motivating themto consolidate purchases within a set of merchants to maximize reward point accrual. Thus, loyaltyprograms can help merchants differentiate themselves from competitors and help reducecommoditization of their products. In the case of B Infinite, customers would ideally be motivated toconcentrate their purchases across the group of 80 plus member merchants. Second, loyalty programscan prompt customers to make additional purchases by providing promotions. In addition, loyaltyprograms can help customers communicate their needs to companies which can allow for a co-design ofproduct and service offerings. Thirdly, by virtue of the data which can potentially be collected, loyaltyprograms can yield novel insights into customer buying behaviour. With the use of data analytics thisdata can be used by merchants to guide important decisions such as where to put physical retaillocations, how to design their distribution networks, what assortment of offerings should be provided,how to optimize promotions, and what should be the price strategy.Traditionally to generate revenue from these benefits loyalty programs sell merchants points in theprogram which are then distributed to customers when they purchase products. In this business modelit is critical for the program to accurately price the value of points to merchants (i.e. how muchparticipation can increase a merchant’s sales). It is also important that the loyalty program figure outhow to best grow its membership base, as this will make the program more valuable to merchants. Ofparticular importance is growing a membership whose demographics are attractive to key merchants.The continual expansion of merchants that complement contemporary lifestyle choices is also importantbecause it provides customers with more attractive options for accruing and spending loyaltypoints.Going forward it is important that B Infinite continually revisit these issues to insure that the programappropriately adapts to market changes and customers lifestyles.In addition to these traditional concerns, recently B Infinite faces some new opportunities andchallenges. First, the movement of the program from being card-based to app-based opens up thepotential for new analytics offerings. Customer use of the new B Infinite mobile app has the potential toprovide new types of customer data in a timely and potentially cheap manner. However, to realize thecommercial benefits of this data B Infinite must develop an understanding of what type of data wouldbe useful to merchants and develop capabilities to offer analytics solutions that convert the data intovaluable market insights. The company may also need to re-think whom might be the customers for thisdata. It is possible that third parties other than merchants and traditional research companies might findthe data valuable.3B Infinite needs to better understand the commercial viability of these potential 3-waypartnerships.Second, recent technology advances have opened up the possibility for loyalty programs to move intothe financial service sector and becoming payment mechanisms for customers. For example, B Infiniterecently signed a deal with MasterCard that will allow B Infinite members to link any credit card to the BInfinite app via the ‘Masterpass’ digital wallet which simplifies and improves the making of a purchasefor physical or digital goods in-app with as little friction as possible. In this situation a customer’s B2Nunes, J.C. & Dreze, X. (2006). Your Loyalty Program is Betraying You. Havard Business Review, April, 124-131.3https://www.traveldatadaily.com/commercialising-frequent-flyer-program-member-data/