Announcing the Eco-Loyalty Initiative of the Year new sponsor for 2020
Epoints is to be the 2020 sponsor of the new Eco-Loyalty Initiative of the Year category at The Loyalty Magazine Awards. We asked founder and CEO Matt Norbury to explain why he had made this choice and to tell us more about his fast-growing company.
Loyalty Magazine: Explain about the epoints proposition?
Matt Norbury: Epoints gives unbeatable savings for employees through a unique reward platform. Members can be given points as a reward from their employer for doing a great job, they can collect them on thousands of websites, and can top-up to buy extra points they need for the perfect reward. The reward part gives huge benefit to the employees using the platform as epoints lists products from major retailers such as John Lewis and Argos but rather than selling at the retailers current price it reduces the price by an extra 10%. Finally, after every purchase members get up to 5% of the price back into their account as free bonus epoints. The combined savings offered by epoints makes it the leading option for employers looking to help save their employees money online.
How long has the company been in existence and when did you begin running a loyalty points programme?
I set up the holding company of IAT Ltd 17 years ago and was very fortunate as the first group of investors to whom I presented the technology decided to invest. Since then there has been an evolution with a couple ofmajor pivots.
- For quite a while we ran the points programme for a number of newspapers including the Metro and the Mirror as a shopping plugin. We then personalised the experience to be, for example, MyMetro and learnt a great deal about how people behave online and what works and what doesn’t work. It was a psychological learning curve, and from that came the original idea for epoints. Initially, we ran it as a whitelabel product for a number of interesting clients that included Delia Smith the food writer.
- The next pivot was a conversation with Specsavers that wanted to reward employees for all contact lenses sold, so we set up a programme whereby the employees would be awarded vouchers for good service and performance. Specsavers, the world’s largest optical retailer, then extendedepoints rewards to incentivise its staff in 7 countries including the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. In the UK and Ireland alone, the scheme rewarded staff with over 9,000,000 epoints.
And you didn’t stop there did you?
We had a similar conversation with BUPA, the health services company that wanted a reward mechanic to thank staff in care homes. We are now their group-wide provider and in addition, we work with a number of clients in the NHSand great employers such as Virgin Active.
In October 2019 we announced that Casual Dining Group (CDG), which owns brands including Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas, has launched a new reward and recognition scheme for its 7,000 employees in the UK. The new programme, provided by our employee recognition and reward division Each Person, was implemented to help boost employee satisfaction and motivation across CDG’s 260 operating sites.
The scheme enables CDG’s managers to recognise individual employees, as well as wider teams, for meeting business objectives or demonstrating behaviours that align with the organisation’s values.
How long has epoints been a brand?
We launched it six years ago to bring together the different elements of our loyalty offering and provide a coalition reward structure that works for employers, for employees, for retailers, and of course for consumers.
What made you choose the Eco-Loyalty Initiative of the Year category in this year’s Loyalty Magazine Awards?
The growth of our company has been substantial – running at 250% last year – but it has been an evolution and this is continuing with our wish to do something with a purpose.
Few can deny that one of the greatest challenges that our world faces today is Climate Change.
News headlines from across every continent, carry pictures of disaster. From the fires in California and Australia to deforestation in the Amazon; from the melting ice caps of the Arctic – to the floods across the fields of northern England – climate change is real, it exists and it threatens the future of earth – the place we call our home.
Climate change does not discriminate where, when or to whom it will wreak havoc – it affects everyone and jeopardises the existence of us all.
For this reason, we are defining the purpose of epoints and giving meaning to the ‘e’ within the name, defining it as e for Eco. The full name of epoints is now Eco-points and we are extending the capability of the platform to positively impact climate change. At the same time, we will be ramping up our efforts to contribute towards the fight against climate change.
What does this mean in practice?
For a start, there is the positioningand branding change to reflect our new direction. Eco-points.
For employers using the platform, they will be able to donate some of their points to eco-projects. When you consider how much money we’re saving our members it becomes a no-brainer for people wanting to do more to combat the climate crisis to donate some to great causes.
Finally, the company will be announcing that as a business, we will donate 5% of net profits to the same ecological causes. The first one of these will be tree planting, and we will have more information when we launch at the start of April.
The climate crisis can be fairly complex.If you start saying things like carbon footprint or emissions everyone has a different meaning of what climate change is. Everyone understands trees and knows that planting a tree is a positive and small way to contribute to climate change. It’s something that makes climate change a bit more accessible to everyone. There will be other projects. It is very much in discussion for the future.
How are you engaging with employees on this environmental journey?
Climate change is on most people’s radar but having simple ways to make a difference are few and far between. Lots of our focus in the coming months is to show employees how they can get involved as well as their employers.
Will there be any changes to the reward value or structure under the new name and with the new direction for the company?
Absolutely not. An epoint has always been worth 0.5p and this will continue. The overall proposition of epoints – as a growing portal for people who have earned epoints to redeem them against a very wide range of goods – will also remain the same. The changes we are making are an evolution of epoints, to make it even better and more meaningful for all the people and companies that use it.
You have made the 30 Under 40 List of Loyalty Royalty two years running, and I believe you are still eligible to be nominated again this year. How important is it to have Loyalty Magazine Awards recognition?
I have been to the Loyalty Magazine Awards at the Pavilion Tower of London a number of times and know that they, and Loyalty Magazine itself, command a great deal of respect in the loyalty sector. The awards cover all sectors and are recognised around the world. It seemed the right time to support them as a sponsor and take advantage of their considerable reach to announce our new name and purpose. Timing is everything.