Blog : Technology

NEW APP, LOYALBE, AIMS TO REINVENT LOYALTY REWARDS

NEW APP, LOYALBE, AIMS TO REINVENT LOYALTY REWARDS

At a time when consumer loyalty has never been more central to a retailer’s ongoing success, loyalBe is an app that abandons the needless collection of loyalty cards and replaces it with a seamless, single smartphone application that puts the power of ‘loyalty’ in the hands of shoppers and independent hospitality & retailers alike.

Following a six-figure investment and authorisation by the Financial Conduct Authority, loyalBe is the brainchild of local Belfast man Cormac Quinn who identified and created a frictionless loyalty scheme that doesn’t require consumers to take out their phone at the point of sale to earn rewards, or for retailers to house bulky equipment onsite taking up premium space.

In fact, customers simply link their bank card during registration and earn points whenever they spend in-store. It couldn’t be easier!

With growing sign ups and new businesses coming onboard daily, Cormac is confident that loyalBe is the perfect solution to revolutionise and futureproof the consumer and retailer relationship.

“When I began to research this market, two things were clear. Firstly, loyalty cards have always had an issue with customers not wanting to bulk up their wallets or purses with endless pieces of paper; and secondly for businesses, how can they know who their loyal customers are and how often they’re actually visiting.

“By looking at the benefits of loyalty schemes and also the weaknesses, I felt there was an opportunity to create a technological solution that made it easier for consumers to receive rewards and businesses to connect more seamlessly with shoppers.

“Our loyalBe app works by connecting directly to the customers bank card, rewarding purchases and giving retailers the ability to understand their customers better, and offer a more personalised shopping experience. Given its frictionless nature, we don’t require any equipment or software at till points and customers don’t need to change their behaviour. They simply just pay by card as usual.”

A number of hospitality and retail outlets across Belfast are currently seeing the benefits of loyalBe, helping them create more loyal customers who in turn visit more frequently and spend more per visit than non-loyal ones. They have access to the ‘back office’ dashboard that lets them know their top customers, receive private feedback, engage with customers and much more.

Speaking on the benefits and positive impact loyalBe has been on driving footfall and sales, Paul Glover, owner of Arthur’s Coffee Company says: “We’ve been using loyalBe for a while now and I have to say it’s transformed how we reward our customers.

“Previously we were limited to just a physical paper loyalty card that offered no flexibility in what was rewarded or provided accurate return rate feedback. Now, thanks to loyalBe we’re able to reward the entirety of our customers spend across the range, generating a better response to and from the customer. Beyond that, we’re able to amend, extend and add new deals within the dashboard.

“This is the sort of flexibility that is not commonly available to small businesses and gives us a better chance at competing with bigger companies that have more resources. It all adds up to a very comprehensive system that we use daily, allowing us to remain competitive.

“I’m very happy to see the continued improvements and new features in the system and happily recommend loyalBeto my various contacts within the industry.”

Cormac concludes: “We have ambitious plans for loyalBe and are ecstatic by the positive uptake so far – it is an exciting time. Our aim is to increase the number of active users and businesses using loyalBe significantly and as such are offering any new hospitality and retail businesses who sign up by the end of April 2020 a 100% lifetime discount.

“As a Belfast company, we want to encourage consumers to shop and support local. Our ability to offer this 100% lifetime discount is testament to our desire to help local business maximise the power of loyalty.”

The app can be downloaded from the Apple and Android stores, online via https://getloyalbe.com/ and retailers interested in signing up can register via loyalBe.io

loyalBe is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. Financial Services Registration number is 829479. 

 

REVOLUTIONARY FOOD WASTE APP ‘GANDER’ PROVES A SOARING SUCCESS

REVOLUTIONARY FOOD WASTE APP ‘GANDER’ PROVES A SOARING SUCCESS

Gander, a world-first award-winning app created to reduce food waste, has transformed the spending habits of Northern Ireland shoppers with a significant soar in downloads and increased sales of yellow stickered foods since its launch last August.

Earmarking Northern Ireland as the initial launch pad for the app, over 41,000 downloads have taken place in the last four months, placing it in the top 12% of apps nationally. In addition, up to 45% more reduced-price food have sold which means 45% more has been kept from going to waste. These improvements mean that stores on average are selling between 85-100% of their reduced product shown on Gander, with yellow-stickered items selling 40% quicker since the introduction of Gander; and often at higher prices as shoppers are interested in getting the reduction as soon as it appears.

Gander integrates directly with a retailers POS which enables retailers to automatically display to shoppers in real-time all reduced-to-clear food on the shelves within their local store.  Furthermore, Gander does this automatically, meaning nothing changes in store at all and no additional staff training. The app allows the customer ultimate control over what reduced priced goodies they search for, whether it is by location, favourite stores, reduction, food type and even dietary.

Speaking on the success, one of Gander’s founders, Ashley Osborne says: “The traction and growth of Gander has been amazing. We had expected a decent level of interest, but never envisaged the degree of downloads – especially when only trialled in Northern Ireland initially. The level of positive buy-in demonstrated by customers and retailers alike has been phenomenal and testament that Gander’s proposition is a great fit for consumers out there.

“Customer feedback has been incredibly supportive and the interest in high quality reduced food is impressive, now that they can actually see what is available whereas previously you would have to go to the store and hope to find something reduced. Plus, shoppers are feeling empowered thanks to Gander, aiding them to be more sustainable in their shopping choices. This supports the app’s endeavour to decrease and prevent food waste and create a more sustainable environment has also proved highly effective.”

Ashley adds: “All in all this has led to not only a substantial reduction in surplus and waste, but an increase in overall sales of reduced items, with up to an 800% return on investment for a retailer using Gander.”

Gander launched initially by integrating with Henderson Technologies award winning EDGEPos system to display all of the yellow stickered produce from their stores in real time. Gander went live in 310 participating SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO and ViVOxtra stores.

Due to the successful launch of Gander, it has attracted a lot of interest from additional retailers, many of whom will be rolling out with Gander in the next few months across UK and ROI.

The Gander app can be downloaded via the Apple or Android app stores

THE FIGHT AGAINST FOOD WASTE RAMPS UP WITH THE ARRIVAL OF GROUNDBREAKING NEW TECHNOLOGY DESIGNED TO SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE IT

THE FIGHT AGAINST FOOD WASTE RAMPS UP WITH THE ARRIVAL OF GROUNDBREAKING NEW TECHNOLOGY DESIGNED TO SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE IT

The world’s first real-time mobile app, developed to help food stores clear significantly more of its reduced to clear, often yellow labelled, food produce has launched in Northern Ireland.

In an industry first, Gander, a mobile platform that displays ‘reduced to clear’ food products, has partnered with Henderson Technology to bring this sustainable technology solution to life in stores supplied by the Henderson Group in Northern Ireland under the SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO and ViVOxtra brands.

Gander is unique for this industry as it displays reduced to clear food automatically and in real-time, with Henderson Technology’s award winning EDGEPoS System pushing the reduced food products to the mobile app, as they are stickered in-store.  Similarly, when that item is sold it is automatically removed from the app, providing an instant feed of all reductions in-store at any time making it simple and effective for the shopper.

Food waste is a huge issue and has recently been described as an “environmental, economic and moral scandal” by Ben Elliott[1].  Recent Northern Ireland figures shows that in total, Northern Ireland’s councils collected 230,942 tonnes of LAC (local authority collected) municipal waste between October and December 2018, similar to the 232,012 tonnes collected during the same three months of 2017.[2]

Speaking on the launch of Gander into Northern Ireland, Ashley Osbourne, Founder of Gander says: “We are delighted to be partnering with Henderson Technology in Northern Ireland, to introduce this new technology to market in an industry first. The Henderson Group has a fantastic sustainability and CSR programme in place with a proactive focus on waste reduction. Together through this partnership, we can take significant strides towards giving retailers and shoppers alike the ability to have a more sustainable and mindful approach to food shopping.

“Environmentally, food waste is a crisis and is one of today’s growing issues and it is forecast to increase substantially by 2030 unless serious action is taken.  Worst yet, a significant proportion of this waste is completely avoidable. However, for retailers reduced food can cost them up to 7% of their turnover.  At a time when margins are being squeezed, this is revenue sitting on their shelves and that shoppers locally would love to buy, they just don’t know it is there”.

Darren Nickels, Head of Henderson Technology says: “As an innovative and forward-thinking technology supplier, we are committing to helping all our retailers to reduce food waste alongside tackling the problem in our own stores. We are excited to have partnered with Gander to bring this unique initiative to life in an industry first. As part of the Henderson Group, we believe that initiatives like this will help us tackle the moral and environmental problems associated with avoidable food waste. We are delighted to be the first POS provider in the U.K. to offer this with our EDGEPoS system.

“Through the retail partners we work with both here in the UK and across the globe, we know that many of our customers feel strongly about addressing this issue and feel confident that by introducing the Gander app we will encourage shoppers to purchase in a smarter, more sustainable way while also enjoying some great savings.”

Ashley adds: “Only 5% of a retailers existing shoppers purchase reduced to clear food.  Gander puts this information in the hands of significantly more motivated shoppers which in turn will increase sales of reduced product.  For a retailer, this will increase revenue otherwise lost to waste, increase footfall and reduce waste.  For the shoppers it will provide them with the ability to avail of local bargains and save money, whilst allowing them to feel they are positively addressing the problem of food wastage.  A win, win!

“Shoppers love reductions and offers with 32% shopping for offers according to IGD Shoppervista research.  Furthermore, there is a movement from shoppers towards companies with an environmental focus with 72% of Gen Z’ers shopping in stores with a positive social and environmental impact according to Nielsen.”

The Gander app can be downloaded via the Apple or Android app stores and used to locate reduced items at your nearest SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO and ViVOxtra store.

Gander is rolling out across the UK and ROI following the successful launch of the app in NI, to help drastically reduce waste at a National level.

END

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/31/food-waste-chief-to-target-scandal-of-250m-binned-uk-meals

[2] https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/news/northern-ireland-local-authority-collected-municipal-waste-management-statistics-released-13

CAN NEW INNOVATIONS IN ULTRA-LOW ENERGY HOUSING TACKLE FUEL POVERTY?

CAN NEW INNOVATIONS IN ULTRA-LOW ENERGY HOUSING TACKLE FUEL POVERTY?

This is the question being addressed at the inaugural Passive House Association of Ireland Conference, taking place in Belfast on Friday 10th May. The conference, supported by The Royal Society of Ulster Architects and Kingspan Insulation, has been developed to debate, challenge and address how the industry in NI needs to move forward and embrace new ways of tackling fuel poverty.

The 2016 Northern Ireland House Condition survey showed that 22% of households were living in fuel poverty in Northern Ireland; the private rented sector is the worst affected by fuel poverty with most recent figures at 26.3%; and in 2017-18 there were 1,500 excess winter deaths with 30% attributable to living in a cold home. In addition, 68% of households in Northern Ireland are reliant on home heating oil; an unregulated fuel in terms of price and customer protection.

Panellists and attendees will be privy to the latest research and development in the field, and there will be the opportunity for much lively conversation – with focus given to retrofit and new build housing.

The conference will have an esteemed panel of industry experts leading the discussions which includes: Director of Fuel Poverty Coalition NI, Pat Austin; County Architect for Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown County Council, Andrée Dargan; Dr. Shane Colclough from University of Ulster; Green Party NI Leader, Claire Bailey; Caroline Best Project Architect at the Northern Ireland Housing Executive; Managing Director of Mosart & Passive House Academy, Tomas O’Leary; and Chair of PHAB Group and GP Developments, Garrett Quinn.

The conference keynote speaker will be the Housing Development Manager for Exeter City Council, Emma Osmundsen who will be discussing her council’s policy and successes in social housing by implementing low energy, healthy and climate resilient buildings.

Speaking about the upcoming event, Paul McAlister, Chairman of the PHAI, said, “This is a discussion which is long overdue, and we are delighted with the positive response from across the political and civic spectrum to our first ever conference tackling this issue.

“Fuel poverty affects thousands of households in Northern Ireland and decisive action is needed. The main issue is that there is a lack of understanding of the benefits of low energy housing and a perception that it is more costly to implement this approach; which is not correct. We believe that this conference marks an important first step in addressing the problem, and we hope that it will motivate our business and community leaders to embrace and be more open to recognising the potential of ultra-low energy housing.”

Tickets for the conference are currently available via http://bit.ly/PHAIBelConf2019 priced at £55pp general admission and £45pp for PHAI members.

ENDS

GLOBAL TECH COMPANY OLIGHT CHOOSES BELFAST AS ITS UK HEAD OFFICE BASE

GLOBAL TECH COMPANY OLIGHT CHOOSES BELFAST AS ITS UK HEAD OFFICE BASE

Global technology lighting company Olight, has officially launched its aircraft aluminium torch range into the UK, choosing Belfast as its operational base. Investing over £1.5 million into the new merchandising hub and creating five local jobs with more planned, Olight is aiming to generate over £2 million in the next year, in addition to its online Amazon sales.

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£150M FOR BROADBAND MUST ATTRACT THE MAXIMUM MARKET INVESTMENT IN OUR INFRASTRUCTURE

£150M FOR BROADBAND MUST ATTRACT THE MAXIMUM MARKET INVESTMENT IN OUR INFRASTRUCTURE

CEO of Belfast based B4B Group, Dominic Kearns, has said the Government must use the £150m agreed between the Conservative government and the DUP in their confidence and supply deal, to ensure the correct investment environment is created to see the maximum benefit for our economy and competitiveness as a region.

“We must insure that we create an environment that attracts the most market investment possible for the region. The broadband infrastructure market is changing so much so that investors are switching focus back to the sector in the hope of returns in the longer term.

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PEEKABOO, INSTAGRAM CAN SEE YOU!

PEEKABOO, INSTAGRAM CAN SEE YOU!

We gauged public opinion on the recent revelation that Instagram now allows users to see when their friends were last active. Find out what our followers thought of this new feature.

Instagram stayed rather quiet over the weekend, as they gently rolled out a new update which focuses on increased visibility of users. With new social media platforms popping up fast – you would wonder how much more can be added to increase visibility even further?

Well Instagram has found a way – presenting the ‘Last Active’ feature.

Instagram now allows your friends and followers to track when you last used Instagram. When sending stories or direct messages, you’ll notice that beside their username, in grey writing you can now see when they were last active – the times are very precise, ranging from “active now”, “active 32 minutes ago” to “active yesterday”.

This won’t be a ground-breaking update for you if you use Facebook messenger or Whatsapp, as you should be used to that by now. However, this adds Instagram to the list of places where other people can monitor your activity heavily.

If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling Instagram as a de-stressor throughout the day, but don’t quite have the brain power to respond to your messages, we have good news. You can deactivate this feature easily to ensure that others (like your boss) can’t track your usage and send those nagging “Get back to work” or “I know you’re online…?” messages.

Step 1: Open your settings via the three little dots in the top right-hand corner

Step 2: Scroll down to “Show Activity Status”

Step 3: Click on the toggle to ensure that you have freedom to scroll, without feeling obligated to respond to messages immediately.

Voila! – you’re now free to live a semi-private life through Instagram again – sharing only what you choose to share, which likely doesn’t include your low-key addiction to scrolling.

 

How do you feel about Instagram’s new updates?

Instagram Poll

We asked our Instagram followers if they were aware of this new update, and 50% of our followers had no idea that Instagram was sharing their activity with others. Of those who had already heard about the update, 100%* of them had found out via friends/websites or blogs – no one found out through Instagram’s own news or social media pages.

This introduces the argument that new features like this one should be heavily advertised

to ensure users are aware of changes. It also poses the idea that new features like this one should automatically be inactive when updated, and Instagram should prompt us to turn it on if we wish.

We asked our followers if they would have chosen to share their visibility had they had the

choice; 69% of people voted asking for more space, disagreeing with this new feature. Researching further the 39% of followers who didn’t mind sharing their visibility, we found that this correlated with a higher follower count, as well as those accounts using Instagram as a business or blogger.

With more updates to come in 2018, we found this insight very interesting. Instagram seems to be verging towards more of a marketing platform – allowing for marketers, brands and businesses to seamlessly merge onto users feeds without much evidence. This is good news for businesses, but could increase the scepticism for casual users who enjoy Instagram as an escape from the marketing stance that Facebook displays.

Stay tuned for future Instagram advances and find out what they could mean for you and your business.

*This figure was correct as of 3pm 23/01/2018

NIRUNNING SETS THE PACE WITH HELIOS IT

NIRUNNING SETS THE PACE WITH HELIOS IT

NiRunning have teamed up with local IT support & services company, Helios IT to take their rapidly growing online community to the next level.

Helios IT, who provide IT support and services for businesses throughout Northern Ireland have already sponsored the redevelopment of the NiRunning website, and will be working with NiRunning to supply them with the latest hardware and cloud services (Office 365), and to offer ongoing IT support to the business.

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NTD INSTALL LATEST FACIAL RECOGNITION SYSTEM AT MASH DIRECT

NTD INSTALL LATEST FACIAL RECOGNITION SYSTEM AT MASH DIRECT

North Time & Data Ltd, (NTD) specialist suppliers of state-of-the-art time management systems for workforce monitoring, has installed the latest in their line of biometric facial recognition terminals for one of Northern Ireland’s leading FMCG manufacturers.

NTD was tasked by Mash Direct to implement a workforce management system to effectively monitor employee attendance and track working hours.

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