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For businesses operating in competitive markets, holding even a single percentage of market share can be a significant achievement. Despite only being launched in July 2020, the innovative coalition loyalty program yuu Rewards Club has already gained a strong market position with over four million customers in Hong Kong and Macau – equivalent to 60 per cent of the adult population of Hong Kong.
When CEO Danni Peirce joined the company in July 2021, conversations were starting around how to make the service even more valuable for users.
“The thing that sets us apart is our team. And what we’ve got to make sure is that as we expand that, we keep that essence so that it continues to be a point of differentiation for us.”
“We’ve got something that our members really love and they’re using regularly. That’s when the thinking evolved to say, maybe this could be an app that goes beyond loyalty and rewards,” Danni explains.
Soon after, in November 2021, a shopping platform called yuu to me within the yuu app was launched, and an insurance offering was also introduced to users. “That’s really the start of our next chapter.”
Currently, yuu Rewards is a coalition loyalty program across multiple brands at over 2,500 stores and outlets across Hong Kong. In the retail segment, Wellcome, Market Place, 7-Eleven and IKEA are all yuu partners, with KFC, Pizza Hut and Maxim’s as dining partners and Hang Seng as the key banking partner. Danni is focused on pushing forward with new partners, with Shell recently joining the program as a yuu fuel partner.
“Many of these brands are now also part of the yuu to me ecommerce offering and customers can receive their groceries and health and beauty orders in one drop, within one day. Selected brands are also available for delivery within one hour,” Danni explains.
“If we don’t move fast enough, then others will and customers will recognise this. So we have to ensure that we are evolving and adapting to the meet our customers’ needs.”
As yuu continues to grow, Danni says she is acutely aware of the need to maintain an innovative startup culture that eliminates unnecessary bureaucracy. “How do we ensure that we remain agile and that we move at pace as we get bigger? The thing that sets us apart is our team. And what we’ve got to make sure is that as we expand that, we keep that essence so that it continues to be a point of differentiation for us,” she shares.
With the team as one of the core strengths identified by Danni, retaining these talented team members at yuu is another goal. “We want to retain our team because I really think that’s been one of the big elements in making yuu a success.”
Looking forward, she has her sights set on improving the customer experience further. “We’re focused on creating a seamless customer experience, whether that’s in the app, in our stores or when shopping through yuu,” she says.
Virtually no business has been left unscathed by the COVID-19 pandemic. For Danni, the biggest challenge that COVID-19 brought with it is how it has accelerated customer trends and innovations, which requires yuu to move quickly to ensure they’re meeting consumer preferences.
“If we don’t move fast enough, then others will and customers will recognise this. So we have to ensure that we are evolving and adapting to the meet our customers’ needs,” Danni says.
The flat structure at yuu played an essential role in ensuring that innovation could be pursued and no unnecessary barriers slowed the team down. While yuu is part of parent company DFI Retail Group, the team has its own structure and they work in a collaborative co-working office.
“We have a team who are very much empowered to be able to make decisions and share ideas, and that’s how we want to move forwards with pace,” she says.
With some of the biggest brands in Hong Kong being found on yuu, maintaining strong relationships with partners is critical for the loyalty program. By working with partners to identify exactly what their business objectives are, yuu can then build a strategy to deliver success for all involved.
Openness and transparency are the cornerstones of relationships with partners and, according to Danni, this approach is working as many partners have seen such impressive results, they’re switching more funding away from traditional methods and applying it towards increasing their commitment to yuu Rewards.
“We know that, for the partners who have joined the program, it has driven significant incremental sales,” she shares. “We’ve got customers who are really engaged and we’re able to start offering a personalised experience to our members.”
Perhaps the central reason that yuu have managed to build such a strong and loyal customer base is due to the value members have found through the program. Thanks to the significant number of highly engaged users, yuu is also able to offer value to its partners.
“What our members love about being part of the program is the ability to earn points, but also the ability to be able to save on their shopping with personalised offers that are exclusively for them. The ability to see products, whether it’s new products, or seeing offers on current products that they often buy, is of major value” Danni adds.