Digital gifting helps Aussie startup drive product roadmap, HR engagement

Australian accounting software startup, Luca Plus, brings on fellow startup solution to help drive marketing and employee programs

A digital gifting platform has given Aussie startup, Luca Plus, a nifty tool to not only cut through the clutter and reach customers that can inform its product roadmap, but also reward employees.  

Luca Plus is a homegrown, all-in-one cloud-based accounting software application for SMEs with a particular emphasis on creating and sending secure e-invoices. The platform uses Blockchain digital ledger technology to provide verification and security of accounting records and to mitigate invoice fraud.  

Luca Plus marketing and business development manager, Daniela Herrera, told CMO one of the big hurdles the brand has faced is educating people who may be scared of next generation fintech, as well as how Blockchain provides a more trusted system and true digital invoicing capability. That’s seen content marketing and virtual events become key elements of the marketing mix.  

“It’s a change management process no matter what… when you’re introducing a new piece of technology, and competing against offerings such as Wave, Zoho or other free tools, there’s an education process we need to address,” she said. “With many free tools, what those don’t tell you about is the security side or accessibility. We don’t charge by volume; it’s unlimited.  

“Through our offering you can see the profit and loss, the cashflow. Luca also moves with you, whether you’re a startup, at seed stage or running a larger business that requires you adopting an MYOB or Quickbooks. Luca Plus grows with you.”  

But while some cut-through was being achieved through content marketing, it was clear to Herrera more insight was needed around the wider product roadmap and user experience proposition.  

Digital gifts  

It was the need to recognise employee contribution that initially led Herrera to look at the Shouta rewards platform. But she also quickly saw its potential to help Luca Plus to secure the customer and prospect insights required to better build out Luca Plus’ product roadmap.  

“When Covid hit, everyone was hit with surveys. I understand why – we needed to do them because if you don’t ask customers what their pain points are, you may not have a product that’s fit for market,” she said. “We had to step back and think we were getting cut-through with our education programs and content marketing, plus our webinars. But what should our product roadmap look like from a user experience perspective? We needed to stop the go-to-market strategy and look more closely at what customers and prospects want and need.  

“So we put a great survey to not only answer some of these questions we needed to answer around if our product was fit for purpose, but what our differentiation points should be.”  

As a Stone and Chalk startup community member, Herrera came across the Shouta App platform and decided to adopt the platform to drive rewards from both a HR as well as customer survey perspective. It was also a good chance to support another local tech innovator, she said.    

Shouta co-founder and CEO, Carly Shamgar, said gifts, dubbed ‘Shouts’ in the app, range from coffee, drinks and a meal to manicures. Users can also customise their own shout for recipients, giving it their own name and image/graphics by selecting the ‘You Choose’ shout. The cost of shouts vary from $5 up to $250 or users can set their own amounts inbetween. The suggested price for a coffee, for example, is $5 and this amount is set by default in the Shouta Biz website.  

‘Shoutees’ are sent their gift followed by an SMS linking through to the Shouta app. Once registration is complete, the Shoutee adds the gift to their Shouta digital prepaid Mastercard and to their mobile wallet to tap and pay. Unlike many vouchers or gift cards where the recipient is limited to a specific product or retailer, Shouts can be spent anywhere Mastercard is accepted.  

To do this, users upload their own .CSV file of recipients. They can also customise design by submitting their own graphics.  

Luca Plus used Shouta to give back to employees at the end of the year, sending out a $50 voucher as a thank you for getting through a tough Covid-fuelled year.  

With its survey, Luca Plus offered a $20 Shouta digital gift to all those who completed the questions, chalking up more than 200 responses. This approach was well under the original $8000 marketing budget expected to promote and secure survey responses, Herrera said. A follow-up email thanking respondents for completing the survey also included information on the Shouta gift on its way.  

“Not only were we giving back to a startup, we were also reducing marketing spend and doing things in a smart, more efficient way, giving customers and future customers a thank you directly,” she said. “I thought this was a win-win situation.”  

Luca Plus is now using the vouchers as part of its recruitment drive for two upcoming information B2B webinars, with the first 200 registrations getting a $5 coffee voucher. It’s also looking at ways to extend Shouta through its client base so they can provide digital gifts to their end customers.  

As to the survey responses themselves, Herrera said the team is acting on feedback by giving its Solo Plan “some more love”. It’s also looking at ways to extend platform usability, as well as adding in the ability to send an e-invoice directly from the platform if you’re working on a government contract.

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