A local start-up company has introduced a hassle-free loyalty system that mines data from its customers, and encourages them to become repeat-customers.
Jun Rex Bungabong, CEO of Zaige Technologies Corp., said the digital loyalty system uses Facebook Messenger chat automation, a point of sales system, and a dedicated SMS system that allows merchants to have a SenderID for their text messages.
According to Bungabong, trained in Computer & Electronics Engineering, he had initially conceptualized the digital loyalty system as a means to market his family’s small business by encouraging customers to redeem promo codes and discounts through Facebook Messenger.
He and his wife Geraldine Fae Moragas-Bungabong operate Flamin’ Grill (along Hibbard Ave. in Tubod; and along Jose Romero Road in Bagacay). The couple also runs The Praia, an events place beachfront in Maslog, Sibulan.
Bungabong observed that more often than not, solopreneurs, or businessmen who literally do all the work to grow their company, do not have a background or academic training in marketing, and focus only in acquiring more and more customers.
“The business operates on how to bring in more customers,but not necessarily in their retention as loyal customers” who can keep coming back for the good food or service, noted the young businessman, who has worked for various companies relating to engineering, management, and analytics.
“What usually happens with solopreneurs is that they open a business, and can only hope people will come. Marketing isn’t usually their background,” Bungabong lamented. “What they usually do, maybe unconsciously, is purely customer acquisition.”
An effective business system, he noted, is a good combination of customer- acquisition and customer- retention.
“The purpose of this system is to really maintain a customer database; then we later on introduce POS, employee management, and a payroll system,” Bungabong said.
Such a digital loyalty system would enable fellow solopreneurs to manage their customer data, and to manually operate their respective POS systems, as they may have limited resources for hiring personnel, he explained.
“We won’t have to manually handle [cold] cash since the small businessmen is expected to do everything as they don’t have the resources to hire people,” Bungabong said. “Technology will have eased their strife!”
The digital loyalty system was developed with assistance from the Department of Trade & Industry and the Department of Science & Technology which had gathered several local start-ups, and formed them into a solopreneurs community.
In their mapping process, Bungabong noted that the current ecosystem for start-ups is thriving once more, compared to the business climate during the pandemic years.
To date, the loyalty system they developed has been embraced by at least 19 Dumaguete merchants and two Manila-based traders and suppliers.
As a restaurant operator himself, Bungabong is confident the loyalty system will greatly help solopreneurs’ businesses. “At least I personally understand the issues that restaurants go through, in terms of digital promotion or innovation.”
His vision with Zaige Technologies, named after their daughter Amare Zaige which means ‘sage’, is the transformation of small-medium enterprises in the Philippines being digital- enabled to compete with conglomerates in the industry.
“There is still a long way to go out there but with the help of government agencies like DTI and DOST, this current system can definitely be improved,” Bungabong said. (Regina Faye Lleno/SU Masscom intern)