Published in Sep-Oct 2022
MAMUN M. ADIL: What led to the establishment of Savyour in August 2020?
UMAIR GADIT: After the first Covid-19 lockdown, a lot of small stores approached us – some of them had either closed down or had experienced substantial losses – and they did not know how to reach their customers digitally. This is when we realised it was the right time to launch Savyour. I have been involved with technology-based organisations for 12 years, so I am quite familiar about how to grow businesses digitally and I saw a huge gap within Pakistan’s digital landscape. Retailers really do not have too many marketing channels available to promote themselves at no upfront cost. They can advertise on Google or Facebook, but not every business can afford to do so or has the right talent available in the required numbers. It is this gap that can be bridged by affiliate marketing, which is what Savyour does. This was also another reason behind our establishment; we are Pakistan’s only affiliate marketing and cashback platform and these are our USPs.
MMA: How has Savyour grown since 2020?
UG: We now have over 120 team members in Karachi and smaller teams in Islamabad and Lahore, as well as a presence in over 200 cities with over 450 partner brands on board – organisations such as Daraz, Foodpanda, Krave Mart and Reckitt Pakistan – and we work across eight categories (Beauty, Fashion, Health, Electronics, Food, Grocery, Marketplaces and Travel). Although we have big names on board, more than 80% of our retailers are MSMEs [micro, small and medium enterprises]. This is important to us, because part of our vision is to uplift such organisations.
MMA: Why is this important?
UG: If you look at countries like Singapore, their economies are strongly supported by MSMEs, and we believe that we can really help such companies in Pakistan to reach the next level of their journey. They are the ones we want to digitally enable. We have worked with several small stores related to groceries and even fashion, and their business has grown substantially as a result. If a merchant does not have an app or web presence, we connect them with digital enablers so that they can sign on with us. Once on our platform, they have exposure to our two million plus users to whom we have so far disbursed over Rs 200 million in cashback.
MMA: Does your revenue model rely on commissions?
UG: Yes, we charge a commission for every sale that is made through our platform via our pay-per-sale model. Forrester Research recently interviewed approximately 200 marketing directors (their companies grew from $20 million to over a billion dollars) and they ranked affiliate marketing as one of the top-performing marketing channels. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, it is not a variable that is easily accessible.
MMA: Why do brands need affiliate marketing?
UG: At the end of the day, brands need multiple marketing channels that direct traffic to their websites and apps. In fact, advanced attribution models state that spending one dollar on affiliate marketing ends up giving four or five times the return. At another company I co-founded, after we applied advanced data attribution models, we discovered that the attribution from affiliate marketing networks was much higher than regular marketing channels. This is because affiliate marketing provides several benefits to users, such as reassurance, constant messaging and credibility, all of which provides brands with repeat users who are loyal and tend to spend more.
MMA: What are the benefits for end users?
UG: We keep consumers abreast of deals and discounts they may not know about. They also receive cashback on every purchase they make, irrespective of their payment method, and additional cashback, if they use their Visa cards (based on a recent partnership we have entered into). We call this triple-stacked savings. Recently, we introduced a feature called Power Cashback which adds another layer of saving for consumers; they receive cashback from the platform they are purchasing from [such as Daraz], the participating brand [such as Reckitt] and Visa credit/debit cards if they use them – in addition to the deals we offer. The cashback they receive from Savyour can be withdrawn at any participating bank or mobile bank, or saved in their digital Savyour Wallet and redeemed later.
MMA: Is attracting people who are part of the unbanked population a challenge?
UG: Savyour is one of the best solutions for people who do not have bank accounts. However, we have noted that people who did not have a bank account before joining Savyour, have actually opened one after using our service, be it at a regular financial institution or by subscribing to services like JazzCash or Easypaisa.
MMA: Why did Savyour introduce cashback services for people who frequent brick-and-mortar stores in April 2020?
UG: When we launched, we were a completely online business. However, the digital space is a growing segment and to ensure that we are growing at the pace we wanted to, we launched this service. After conducting extensive research, we found that a substantial number of people still prefer to shop in person. We started the service in Karachi, and after promoting it aggressively, we will introduce it in other cities.
MMA: Who is your target end consumer?
UG: Young people from 18 to 28. We did extensive research through a top-tier research agency, in addition to focus groups in different cities before deciding on this segment – they are tech-savvy, willing to experiment with new things and have higher disposable incomes. Furthermore, they are the ones who tend to do most of the buying on behalf of the women in their household (they make the purchasing decisions), as our value proposition resonates very well with them as well.
MMA: How do you market Savyour to end consumers and brands?
UG: We use digital mediums mainly – Meta, Google, influencer marketing and digital PR as far as end consumers are concerned. We are going into mainstream media as well and will be introducing on-ground activation from September, in addition to OOH. We have a dedicated team who market to potential clients and who explain the value of what we can do for them via in-person consultations.
MMA: What are your long-term plans with Savyour?
UG: We are very early in our journey. We want to double down on exposure and then expand our in-store feature and make it available in other cities. Furthermore, we want MSMEs to be able to say that they became successful because of the help they received from us – that we created a platform that changed their destinies.
For feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org.