Archive for Why Ohana?

Ohana’s Open Architecture Makes Rebates a Seamless Part of Your Customer Experience

apiToday’s web experience is all about instant gratification.  Last year, research done by Fast Company found that 74% of customers leave a website if it doesn’t load on their smartphone in less than 5 seconds

Ohana’s Technology Team knows how important it is for anything you add to your website—such as our rebate application—to work seamlessly with the rest of the site and not disrupt the customer experience.  We also know that integration needs to be as near plug-and-play as possible to avoid burdening your IT staff with a huge coding effort.

That is why we’ve designed a powerful, flexible web application programming interface (API).  Non-technical readers, think of the web API as a simplified means of remote software applications and components interacting with each other over the internet.

Exposing a web API allows us to create seamless integration between various client applications and our applications.  It enables clients to provide rebate submission, reward status, and payment choice from their own website.  The REST architecture is lightweight, making use of standard AJAX requests to execute functionality quickly “behind the scenes” so that the customer doesn’t even notice a transition.

The web API also gives our clients the flexibility to deliver a responsive experience that translates cleanly across different device types (tablet, smartphone, etc.)   So you can not only add promotional functionality to your website, but also to your mobile application so your customers can take advantage of promotions everywhere they shop.

Our platform can also help clients understand consumer behavior as their customers hop back and forth between the online and offline world.  We helped one client easily add a deal to their website that triggered a single-use coupon to be emailed to their consumer.  The coupon was redeemed through the client’s dealer network, and tracked back through the Ohana platform.   All the details of the promotion – from engagement to redemption and purchase – were automatically reported to the client on a daily basis.

Consumer demands on technology are high, and Ohana’s engineers work hard to make sure our clients roll out promotional programs that meet those demands with minimal launch effort.  We like the challenge.

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Meet Ohana, the Technology Company

I always introduce Ohana as a technology company.

Some might disagree with me… our solutions drive clients’ marketing and promotional programs so many people consider us part of that industry. But I believe that at the core, what makes Ohana is our passion for and commitment to world-class technological service solutions.

For starters, our value proposition is powered by our proprietary ROCS software platform. Our initial investment in building a technological platform that was superior to anything our competitors had in place is what got Ohana noticed in the early years and led to us being named to the Inc. 500 and the Philadelphia 100. Today, our ROCS platform continues to drive our clients’ rebate and promotional programs, and enables us to offer sophisticated and seamless experiences to our clients and their customers.

We’re constantly looking for ways to enhance our solutions and technology. As the marketing and promotional industry is moving forward, we want to make sure our solutions stay on the leading edge and continue to help differentiate us from our competitors. Our development team uses an agile approach and works in “sprints,” very short, defined development periods. We consider various inputs (for example, what our customers are requesting, brainstorms from our internal sales team, and the findings of our competitive analysis team to name a few) and then work to bring specific enhancements to our platform in a rapid manner.

Sometimes, what’s needed to stay ahead of the curve requires more than an adaptation. Last year, we made the decision to upgrade our infrastructure to .net. We’ve completed the migration and this investment means that we’re running a state-of-the-art system (good for our clients today and great for attracting the talent that will help us continue to push technology forward in the future).

Before coming to Ohana, I spent my career working for world-class technology companies like SAP. I came to understand the importance of strong strategic partnerships; the right partners make it possible to complement existing technology and services or to add to your offerings in a timely manner. Partnerships offer:
• Assistance in driving the adoption of your solutions in the marketplace
• Aid in scaling and reaching critical mass
• First-class service to your customer while obtaining your growth objectives
• New and complementary technology that allows you to stay ahead of competitors

At Ohana, I find myself routinely asking the question: How can we use our technology to enhance the customer experience, and who can help us?

This question has led us fantastic partnerships with companies like Mobeam (a mobile infrastructure solutions company), Clutch (a mobile development and loyalty company), and distribution partners such as NA Williams. These companies are just a few of the strategic partners we work with at Ohana.

In working towards being a leading-edge technological company, we’ve been granted multiple patents in our market space. We’re proud to have this competitive differentiator, and believe they demonstrate our commitment to providing a superior customer experience and while directly benefiting our retail and manufacturer clients running their promotions through Ohana. Everybody wins at Ohana.

I see technology at the heart of the value we provide to our customers and the driver of our continued success. So will I continue to call Ohana a technology company?

You better believe it.

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Ohana Has Your Back

More and more, I find myself giving this piece of business advice to the younger folks in my life:  Be the kind of person that people enjoy working with and can depend on.

It sounds almost too simple, but every day I see how much this matters.  Placing value on relationships and creating personal connections with the people you do business is the way will have a huge influence on what kind of success you can experience in your career.

When there is trust and familiarity between you and your business partners, there is a tremendous amount of creativity and problem-solving.  Not to mention the confidence and camaraderie that comes with knowing that the person on the other of the phone call really and truly will have your back when you find yourself in a sticky situation.keep calm

Our Client Delivery team here at Ohana gets tons of phone calls every week from our clients and even their reps out in the field asking for support, advice and “how-to”.  And that’s exactly how we think it should be.  We believe that it’s our job to support our clients and their teams on anything from a simple request or question to an actual step-by-step walk-through of a specific process.  These services are available throughout the business day, and can be accessed by any method that is convenient to the retailer or representative, be it direct call or an email.

We believe that having your back means going beyond a few relationships at the program sponsor’s HQ, and means being available to support the retailer level, and ultimately ripples through to the consumer.  Translation:  any ‘John Doe’s Tire Shop’ with a manufacturer rebate program in place has access to our team to make sure the customer is fully taken care of.

We know it can be crazy out there— the fast paced retailer floor, dealing with an irate customer, things not going as planned—and that this is where you make it or break it with your customers.  So we have built our Client Delivery team around the idea of accessibility so that our clients have access to a subject matter expert/advocate/advisor/partner who can provide responsive and dynamic solutions for situations as they unfold.

We’re also working proactively to help you get ahead of the craziness.  Our client advocates are constantly looking at program data to proactively attack potential issues.

So next time you’re in a pinch, don’t panic.  If you’re a partner of Ohana, we’ve got your back.

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“Should I do a Rebate Program or a Loyalty Program?” Yes.

So you’re implementing a loyalty program…let the fun begin.  Should you have cards or no cards?  What about keychain cards?  Is it a points program or a cash program or both?  And what are you even going to call your program to gain mindshare?

Building a successful loyalty program takes careful planning, and as a result often pushes other promotional marketing efforts to the back of the queue because it’s easy to get so focused on the traditional tenets of loyalty programs.  Unfortunately, rebates often fall into the category of “that doesn’t fit into our loyalty strategy”, and loyalty program participation suffers as a result.

Getting consumers into your program can be a difficult task, and even when they do sign up, you have to worry about how accurate their information is (sorry, retailers, but Austin “Danger” Powers has signed up for many programs on my behalf).  Rebates can not only help drive increased membership, but also ensure you’re collecting accurate contact and demographic information to help power your marketing efforts:

  • Customers can automatically be enrolled in your program as part of the registration process when they go online to submit information for their rebate payment.
  • Because you’re using email address to let them know if they’re approved, and street address to mail the payment, consumers typically provide very accurate contact information.
  • Rebates can be paid to prepaid cards that are reloadable and that can contain several account structures, so your rebate payment can act as your loyalty membership card and eliminate the need to manage a separate distribution process for cards.

So use all the tools at your disposal, but use them thoughtfully.  Your promotional programs can and should work together to achieve your goals, and the customer experience should be seamless to increase conversion and engagement.  Be dynamic, be consistent, and reap the benefits of an integrated promotion strategy.

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Fixing Rebates Series: Doug Moore, Retail Industry Veteran, Shares His Thoughts on Ohana Companies, Rebates, and Incentive Marketing

The following is the first post in a series we call “Fixing Rebates”, where experts from inside and outside Ohana Companies weigh in on issues related to consumer rebates and the incentive marketing industry.

As one of Ohana’s charter retail customers, I experienced first-hand the power of the loyalty and data platform they’ve created; many years later, my enthusiasm for Ohana and its solutions remains.

Prior to Ohana, my company had a serious business issue – we knew rebates offered a powerful incentive to drive sales, but we also knew that the process of submitting mail-in rebates was painful for our customers (and resultrepeat customered in damaged customer relationships).  Ohana’s platform allowed us to make rebate submission and redemption hassle-free for our customers.  By enabling a seamless online process, we could get customers paid with prepaid debit cards and gift cards, and follow up with these happy customers to direct their rebate/gift card activity back to my big box retail locations.

The net result was significantly increased repeat traffic back to my stores, from happy customers with cash in hand (which, of course, led to incremental revenue we could track and excellent program ROI).

When it comes to the commodity part of the service, which is processing rebates, Ohana is as good as any competitor.  But, that’s to be expected.

Where it gets impressive Ohana’s ability to aggregate rebates not just from the retailer, but from manufacturers and utilities, too.  Using other people’s money to drive store visits and sales has no equivalent in the retail space.  Throw data analytics in as the icing on the cake and frankly I am not sure why there isn’t a line out the door at Ohana’s headquarters to engage their services!

Chris and team, keep up the good work for retailers and our customers!! It’s clear to me the Ohana model for marketing rebates and incentives is the direction our industry is progressing, as well it should!  As you guys like to say – everyone wins.

Doug Moore is currently a Principal at First Street Consulting, LLC and a board member of Lumber Liquidators.  He previously held senior management roles at Sears Holding Company, hhgregg, and Circuit City.


 

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Ohana Makes Using POS Data in Your Rebate Programs Easy

Most of my client conversations about point-of-sale (POS) data start out the same way, with the client saying, “You want to integrate with our POS data?  You’re crazy.  It’s way too hard.  We don’t have the resources to support that.”

Working with POS systems in your rebate programs sounds scary, and without the right technical expertise, it can be.  The beauty of working with Ohana is that we’ve done hundreds of incentive and rebate programs and have already gone through the integration pain . . . many, many times. (I’ve got the scars to prove it.)  But it was worth the pain to gain the knowledge needed to build Ohana’s robust, flexible platform.You can leverage big data for your rebate programs

How robust?  We’re easily processing millions of rebates that qualify against billions of lines of purchase information and terabytes of transaction data.  We’ve done it with retailer systems of all shapes and sizes, so we’re well-versed in the “gotchas” you may think are specific to your implementation.

The key is knowing exactly which data is needed for your rebate progams, and having the experience to understand the most elegant way to handle that data without impacting (or requiring changes to) existing POS functions or client resources.  It can be done.

Not only have we built a streamlined system for POS data processing; we use our advanced data capabilities to provide comprehensive analytics for our partners, giving them insights that can only be drawn from our system: true redemption rates, basket analysis, and promotion results by dimensions like payment used, loyalty status, and more.  They call it “big data” these days, but Ohana has been doing it for years.

We put your data to work for you, and we do it painlessly.  After all, that’s what a partner should do – make their expertise your expertise.  With Ohana as your partner, your new expertise is advanced data processing systems.  I’m not one for slogans (I leave that to the marketing guys), but I do believe that in a true partnership, everybody wins.

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The Power of Suggestion – Working with Clients to Maximize Rebate Programs

Our Client Delivery team takes prides in having a consultative relationship and sharing our experience with our clients. We like to think that our clients are looking for a trusted advisor that can do more than take their order and send it back to the kitchen.

big_ideas Case in point: One of our new clients this year was shocked that we wanted to set up a discovery meeting with her team followed by a design meeting. She was so used to just receiving a form from her previous rebate partner, checking off the details of her request, emailing it back and not hearing from her account team again until there was a bill to send.

None of us on the Ohana Client Delivery team can even fathom just taking client orders and simply handing them over to be implemented by our Ops and IT teams. We are problem solvers and we tap into Ohana’s team of industry veterans to help devise the best solution for our clients.

We like being in the thick of things. We’re hubs, not spokes. And we’re eager to share everything we’ve learned over the years with our clients so that their time and money is spent building programs that are going to deliver results.

As for the example above – our new client was thrilled that we wanted to sit down and discuss ideas for her program. We were full of questions: What was she trying to achieve? How urgently did she need to have it? What would be easy, what would be challenging? How does this fit into her short-term and long-term marketing strategy? Does she even have a long-term strategy? The facts we uncovered, and the ideas we generated, during these meetings led to a much more productive relationship, and to much more thoughtful and successful incentive programs.

As you consider vendors, whether in the incentive marketing space like Ohana or in any support or services function, I encourage you to explore those who are willing to be creative and supportive partners (and, not just order takers).

Mike Avon, Director, Client Delivery

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“Old School” Rebates Frustrate Your Customers *AND* You. There Is A Better Way.

grrIt’s a fact – customers hate “old school” mail-in rebates.

Whether intentional (to drive breakage) or unintentional (clunky internal processes, mail-in processing confusions, poorly-planned payout methods), the old way rebates were run left a bad taste in customers’ mouths and didn’t provide the ROI rebate sponsors desired.

Take this post by Daily Breeze contributor Muhammed El-Hassan. Like so many other consumers, he loves the idea of a deal and the promise of the rebate.  But, after being let down, he feels cheated and blames the cellular phone provider for running a bad rebate program.  Think this makes Muhammad more likely to switch providers when his contract is up?  You bet.  Think he’ll refer his friends and family to his provider?  Not likely.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  The technology, systems, and strategies exist to create rebate and incentive programs that make consumers happy, love your brand, and buy from you again.  These same strategies can also drive more sales and better program ROI for you!

At Ohana, these “Everybody Wins” programs are what we power for our clients every day.  With solutions and strategies like paperless/online rebates, Rewards Centers to act as customer portals, aggregation of multiple rebates (from multiple funders) into a single customer payout, and even streamlined mail-in programs that digitize submissions so users can look up status online, Ohana fixes the issues with “old school” rebates and turns them into loyalty-loop promotions that consumers and rebates sponsors love.

Don’t make your customers fight Rebaterus like Dilbert (and, for more proof of customer frustration, read the comments at this link!).

We launched Ohana because we’re certain rebates, when run thoughtfully to drive short-term sales lift while keeping an eye towards long-term customer loyalty, can be a fantastic part of your marketing portfolio.

For more ideas/proof, check out these case studies:

Have questions?  Comments? We love this stuff, it’s what we do!  Get in touch, we’d love to talk about it more …

 

Peter Albers, Executive Vice President, Digital and Marketing

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Is Loyalty Built Into Your Rebate and Incentive Programs?

LoyaltyThere is a lot of talk about “loyalty” programs these days, and a thoughtfully-run loyalty program certainly can increase customer retention and drive sales.  But, whether your organization has a full-fledged loyalty program or not, there are ways you can build loyalty loops into your existing incentives and promotions that can drastically improve sales and customer retention.

For example, if you’re running rebates, sweepstakes, SPIFFs, and/or other similar programs, and are paying out your customers via check, you’re missing a huge opportunity to build loyalty and drive follow-on purchases.  Why?  Because once you send a check, you lose all control of where that payout money is spent.  The check is cashed, the customer is as good as gone, and now you have to spend more resources to win her next purchase from you.

By paying out rebates and other incentives with card products, like branded prepaid cards or gift cards, you give your customers incentives that drive the short-term behavior you desire while also keeping her (and her payout) within your ecosystem.

RoCS

At Ohana, our marketing team is constantly working with our clients to promote incentives that not only provide sales lift in the short term, but also systemically drive increased loyalty and the return of customer spend (or ROCS(TM) as we like to call it).

Check out this case study, which describes how one Retailer used prepaid card products to drive over $10,000,000 in incremental sales!

Or, contact us – we’re here to help, and we love this stuff!

 

Peter Albers, Executive Vice President, Digital and Marketing

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