Air Miles and Nectar founder Sir Keith Mills has put his money where his mouth is by agreeing to invest heavily in loyalty specialist Ecrebo – which already counts Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Topshop among its client base – as part of a £12m round of funding.
Mills recently warned brand owners that they risk alienating younger users, particularly those under the age of 25, who find signing up to – and being involved in – existing schemes too complex and long-winded.
Now, along with former Warburg Pincus head of Europe Joseph Schull he is funding increased investment in product and technology development for Ecrebo’s digital marketing platform, and will help to accelerate the retail technology specialist’s global expansion, with a particular focus on North America.
It is aimed at building on Ecrebo’s European presence and entry into the American market in 2016. The funds will also be used to recruit new talent into Ecrebo’s growing team.
Mills and Schull will join Ecrebo’s board as directors alongside the company’s founders, Dr Hassan Hajji and David Vernon. Existing investor Octopus Ventures, one of Europe’s largest venture capital teams, is also participating in the investment round and will continue to be represented on the board.
Ecrebo’s innovative technology platform enables retailers to deliver targeted offers and messages to customers at the checkout alongside their receipt or digital receipt.
Since 2010, the Ecrebo platform is claimed to have processed more than £35bn in transactions for some of the world’s leading retailers, including M&S, Waitrose, and Pandora, and generated more than £500m in additional sales.
The Reading-based business also recently featured in the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 2016 as one of the UK’s fastest-growing technology companies.
Mills said: “Ecrebo impressed me with its firmly-established credentials and leadership within the retail technology sector. Its technology gives retailers the ability to open up a marketing channel that is fully retailer-owned, enabling them to reach all of their customers and engage them on a one-to-one basis in a way which is personalised, rewarding and convenient. I am looking forward to working closely with the Ecrebo team in the coming months to help them grow the business both in the UK and internationally.”
Loyalty schemes must adapt or die, says Keith Mills
Retailers struggle to secure true customer devotion
Top loyalty schemes sign up for payment card app
Customers in a froth over Starbucks loyalty revamp
Waitrose customers fume at loyalty card cutbacks