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Freedelity – Heading Towards Global Success

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With more than 1.1 Million people already using its services Belgian Freedelity is market leader helping retailers to build a top class customer databases. Freedelity team relay on feed enablers like customer loyalty programs for the retail world. Below is recent interview with Sébastien Buysse, CEO and Co-Founder of Freedelity:

Sébastien-Buysse-FreedelityQ: Sébastien tell us please something more about Freedelity? 

A: Freedelity is a project born 4 years ago (the idea is a bit older). In a few words, we create databases for retailers using the Belgian eID – a smartcard passport we, (all citizens), have to carry with us, to help them provide a better service and earn more money (of course you would say, who would advertise making them loose money…. ;) ).

From the citizen point of view, we replace plastic loyalty cards with this smartcard they already own, and we offer them a platform where they can control the access of their data by each and every retailer.

From the retailer point of view, we help them reduce costs by eliminating old school systems with cards, papers, subscription forms, etc. And once the system is in place, he has access to our cloud platform with all his customers, more than 100 statistics and of course a communication platform to push promotions and news to his customers through email, sms or post. As we control the whole chain, from the customers database, to the sales database and the communication platform, we provide him with ROI about his campaigns helping him create more effective messages and helping him driving more revenue to his store. We have succeeded with retailers of more than 30 stores (which is already big for our small country) in increasing their revenue by 5% in only one year. Today, we already have more than 500 stores, including some very big retailers, and our sale funnel is showing that more and more big names are joining the adventure.

Q: Data quality is a key ingredient for effective databases, tell us something more about your mobile solutions?

A: Loyalty was our first product, and still our biggest one, but we also provide brands with a way of creating more reliable databases on iPad and Android tablets using the same technology along with a smart card reader for mobile devices. The solution is focused on street marketing and allows hostesses to register all the data of a new customer, meaning: name, birth date, address, in only 2 seconds. Hostess then just has to enter the email and/or phone number, and ask him a few questions depending on the goal of the campaign. Using this kind of technology allows us to briefly explain a promotion to a customer, ask him if he is interested, get all of his data, and all of that in less than one minute.

We have tons of projects for Android and iOS, but in Belgium we are still having some issues with the hardware in place. Most of the scanners in the stores are not able to read a barcode on a screen, and not everybody has a smartphone yet, so we have to wait for the market to be ready for some new solutions.


Q: What is your business focus at the moment?

A: We are still doing a lot of R&D, to help retailers understand better their customers, and to help them create a more one to one relationship to them rather than sending “stupid” bulk email. Our moto is to make our clients, mostly the marketing departments, fully autonomous without being stuck by the IT not having time for their precious export, or to help them create a report. Because of it, we are seen by most communication and marketing companies as a competitor.

For the rest, we are still focused a lot on the sales, because a good (or bad) product without good sales is just a waste of resources, and a probable failure. We are still only at less than 1% of the possible market for us in Belgium, there is thousands of opportunities and we need to continue growing in our country until the rest of Europe is compatible with the same kind of technology. This is coming, faster than we thought at the beginning.

Q: You have more than 1 Million people already using Freedelity, what is your differentiator and key for your success?

A: There is some key facts. The first one, is that we, as IT guys, understood the frustration of our clients needing to wait for other IT guys, and we created a product where they can do everything they want, without much training and without any limitation.

The second, and most important fact, we make ease shoppers and costumers happy. To register in a store, we only need 2 seconds to read the card, and the account is either updated or created. Meaning, if the customer never heard of us, in only a few seconds the merchant can explain him the product and register him in our database.

The last fact, is that each and every citizen is unique in our central database. If the person is customer in multiple stores, and has changed its address, the first time we read his card we will update the database of all the stores he went to. Having a good database one day is a point, having the same database still in good shape after a few years is another challenge, and this technology finally resolve that.

Q: What can users expect from your team in the future? What are your plans?

A: We now have a strong user base, and we are taking the next step to develop services for customers around our platform. We focused on the retailers for a few years, we will still add a lot of different functionalities for them, but our next challenge is to get clients more active, not only in the stores, but around our platform as well.

And probably, the next plan is to go abroad, there is a lot of countries on the path of Belgium, so we will follow the path ;-)

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