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eBucks awards R500m in one year

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eBucks has reached a major milestone, giving customers R2-billion in rewards in the past 12 years. Last year alone, R500-million was awarded, compared to R400m FNB spent on its marketing.

eBucks, the rewards programme offered by FNB and RMB Private Bank, today announced that its members have spent R2-billion worth of eBucks since the programme’s inception in 2000, with eBucks spend doubling in the last three years alone.

Said Michael Jordaan, CEO of FNB, “Last year we awarded R500-million in eBucks – it’s an incredible figure to give back to customers. The total we spend on marketing in less than that – R400-million last year. The amount we give back to customers exceeds what we spend on marketing.””

Jordaan was the first CEO of eBucks when it was launched in 2000 as a division of FNB.

According to eBucks CEO Joland√© Duvenage, who has been running eBucks since 2010, this milestone is particularly significant because of the retail industry’s slowing growth, low consumer confidence levels and challenging economic conditions.

Launched in 2000 at the height of the dot.com boom, the programme now extends to 2.7-million members who have earned R2.7-billion in eBucks rewards, the lion’s share of which has been allocated by FNB. The eBucks spend to earn ratio exceeds 80% in any given month, meaning that more than 80% of eBucks earned, are spent. This is a clear indicator of healthy member activity when compared to the industry’s benchmark in developed economies, where the average spend to earn ratio is estimated to be between 60% and 70%.

‚””This R2-billion spend milestone shows that our members find the programme relevant and valuable,‚”” says Duvenage. ‚””A high level of member engagement is a strong indicator that the programme is successful and is an essential ingredient in driving acquisition, retention and behaviour change for our business partners, specifically FNB.‚””

Since its launch, eBucks has changed the South African rewards landscape with a number of innovations, including becoming the first legal online supplier of Lotto tickets: introducing the eBucks for Business programme: providing access to eBucks discounts of up to 40%: and becoming the first rewards programme to give consumers the ability to purchase fuel using a rewards currency. The addition of Engen as a partner in November 2009 has had a significant impact on eBucks spend, with approximately R90-million worth of eBucks spent on fuel since then.

‚””Over the last few years, the programme has expanded the choice of products members can buy with eBucks, which has led to an increase in the rate that eBucks are spent. Innovating and staying attuned to our members’ needs has allowed us to extend their purchasing power in a time of economic pressure,‚”” Duvenage adds.

eBucks indicated that spend on everyday necessities such as groceries, medicine, airtime and fuel has grown considerably in the last three years, with nearly half of the eBucks spent each month on these essentials.

‚””While some members are using the rewards currency to help extend their wallets, other members are choosing to reward themselves by spending their eBucks on treats like travel and gadgets,‚”” she says.

eBucks is an integral element of FNB’s strategy to grow and retain core transactional accounts by offering a compelling value proposition to customers.

‚””eBucks upended the rewards industry when it was launched in 2000,‚”” says Jordaan. ‚””FNB customers remain the primary beneficiaries of the R2.7-billion eBucks earned to date. A powerful rewards programme is a primary driver in many consumer decisions. eBucks is an industry leader and has proven to be a big success for FNB: once a new FNB customer experiences the benefits of eBucks, we know we have created a deeper and more durable relationship with the customer.‚””

‚””What is exciting for us is that we have also seen our customers adopt a change in banking behaviour, with members keeping their FNB cards front of wallet to pay for their purchases, so that they earn eBucks,‚”” he added.

The R2-billion spent by eBucks members has also benefitted the programme’s retail spend partners – Makro, Dis-Chem Pharmacies Incredible Connection and Cape Union Mart as examples – with members shifting spend that they may ordinarily be spending elsewhere to these partners.

In light of the programme’s growth trajectory, Duvenage expects exponential growth for eBucks over the next five years as it continues to evolve with the local market and offer a programme that is increasingly relevant and rewarding to members and business partners.

‚””We are also working closely with FNB to strengthen the bank’s strategy of offering value-added products and services as part of its customer acquisition and retention drives, whether that is locally or further afield on the African continent,‚”” she said.

Jordaan added: “”Eventually we’d like to see eBucks as our rewards programme in every country in which we operate – across eight African countries.””

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