A few weeks ago, Cyril Marchal had the opportunity to meet a journalist from L’Express to discuss Lucky Cart and innovation in promotion. Find below the complete article, which appeared in a special edition of L’Express-L’Entreprise on 17 September 2015.
(Please note that the article contains a small error, the Lucky Cart SaaS platform doesn’t work on a subscriber basis, it is completely free for our customers!)
At Lucky Cart, there is twice the amount of innovation.
Product innovation, first of all: the company founded by Cyril Marchal has renovated one of the oldest marketing ploys, one which had not changed for decades; discounts. Following this, service innovation. Thanks to an internally developed online platform, the company will soon be able to work on an SaaS (Software as a Service) model, and will therefore be marketed by subscription.
In 2010, when working for the video game publisher Ubisoft, Cyril Marchal made an amazing discovery whilst on a trip to China. In order to combat VAT fraud, the Chinese government had found an original way to encourage customers to ask for their invoices: they printed them on lottery scratch cards. Upon returning to France, he had another stroke of luck when some lawyers, friends of his, informed him that the European Court of Justice had authorised lotteries with a purchase obligation from that moment.
And so the idea of Lucky Cart began to shape up: instead of offering a 5% discount on the customer’s purchases, why not offer them a 5% chance to be completely reimbursed. The method, christened Promogaming by its creator, has won over around 90 clients in France: The Body Shop, Drive from Intermarché, Go Sport, and Menlook. But it’s the second innovation which has allowed it to move up into a league of its own.
With the concept of Promogaming under his belt, Cyril Marchal could have founded a “simple” marketing agency. He preferred to publish the tool online, thus putting it into the hands of his clients: “In twenty minutes, they can design their campaign from A to Z”, explains the creator. “The visuals, the parameters of the lottery (probability, eligible purchases, etc.) can be completely personalised online.” The disadvantage of this technological decision? It was necessary to invest to build the platform and to take the time to convince customers to connect their customer relations software to it.
Launched in October 2010, Lucky Cart did not really sign its first contracts until three years later. The advantage? Commercial development was a lot more intense after, with each new client representing only a very marginal cost. “Our turnover increased five fold in 2014, and we were profitable!” “We are going to triple or quadruple it again this year,” Cyril Marchal is pleased to say. By running all of these campaigns on its system, the business has also collected a wealth of data about customer preferences when it comes to discounts: whether they are gamblers and attracted by the lottery, or more inclined to choose a good old reduction… Last of all, this technological decision has naturally placed Lucky Cart in the start-up category. And so it has allowed it to raise 1.6 million euros from investors such as Kima Ventures (Xavier Niel’s fund), Partech Ventures, and even Edenred, the food ticket funding giant. This is capital which will be used to finance the hiring of a dozen people, the establishment of the company in Germany and the United Kingdom, and finally the development of the SaaS application.
The moral of the story: always ask if new technology can allow you to adopt a business model which will distinguish you from the competition.