/How e-meal vouchers and tech offer you much more than just a lunch

How e-meal vouchers and tech offer you much more than just a lunch

MUMBAI: Remember the days when you would go to a grocer or a cafe and regret not carrying your office meal vouchers that could have been redeemed there? Today with advances in technology you could even check which grocer is giving the best deal against your vouchers even after leaving home.

As technology disrupts the traditional paper voucher space, entities are trying to relook into their business strategies, developing means of reach out to consumers and advancements in technology is helping them attain it.

“We have various features within our own mobile application promoting merchants through attractive offers, recommend stores for our consumers, also trying to introduce loyalty points and payments within the app,” said Johan Vaucanson, managing director, Edenred India, which runs the Ticket Restaurant meal vouchers. “We had started on the digital journey way back in 2014 and 70% of our transaction volume is already on the digital channels.”

What mobile wallets and bank-led digital wallets were trying to do through exclusive offers and attractive discounts on select merchants in 2015 and 2016 to capture the consumer interest is something that seems to be getting repeated by the prepaid players in the meal voucher space. Further, these payment players have an added advantage of captive consumers who are employees of the biggest corporate entities of the country.

Sodexo has a captive corporate client base of 11,000, Edenred has around 3,500 and Zeta has around 800. These companies together serve a consumer base of few million which gives them an automatic head start in the wallet business in terms of scale and quality of customers.

“We have tieups with food delivery platforms like Zomato and Swiggy, Zeta users can access these platforms through the app directly and payments will be done from his meal voucher entitlements,” said Ramki Gadipatti, co-founder, Zeta.

Integration with platforms like Faaso’s and Freshmenu along with a lot of retail kirana shops allow players like Zeta to capture the right kind of customer base, keep a tab on their spending patterns and also throw up offers accordingly. Companies are also using proximity sensor features to show places with discount offers close to the consumer’s geographical location.

Gadipatti said that for Zeta the ultimate aim is to not remain restricted to payments but integrate the systems with the corporates’ back-end and add value to their business.

“Once 2-factor authentication for small value transactions is done away with what will be the value addition for pure play wallets, payments are going to become as simple as sending messages,” said Gadipatti.

Through paper vouchers it was impossible to track customer spends in real time or introduce add on services to merchants and give out customised offers, all these are being made possible through the switch to digital.

“We are planning to offer all benefits from meal vouchers to medical benefits from the shelf through one application and intend to migrate all non-digitised clients to the digital platform,” said Stephane Michelin, chief executive officer, Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services, India. “Such offerings would never have been possible through paper vouchers.”

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Small Biz-The Economic Times