Tarifah founders Ismail Issa, foreground, and Mostafa Khalifa. (Images via Tarifah)
The idea for the mobile application Tarifah was born in the UAE almost a year and half ago as a customer engagement platform and loyalty program.
Tarifah means “a small amount of currency” in Arabic. The company aims to generate a customized shopping experience based on consumer behavior, location, and purchasing history. Cofounders Ismail Issa and Mostafa Khalifa partnered with Google and Samsung to access advanced consumer analytics through their cloud technology. This information can be valuable for business owners who wish to provide customers with targeted discounts and relevant promotions.
The startup was the winner of the Gulf region’s 2014 Samsung Launching People award in the UAE, which earned the founders their own TV advertisement to show how innovative ideas using Samsung technology are being turned into reality. The platform has since expanded to Cairo, “where the idea of generating a personal touch and providing VIP treatment for a customer has brought back a tailor made shopping experience between brands and customers, “says Khalifa.
How it works
The application can be downloaded in the iOS or Android store. It shows users how to explore brands, save money, and view tailor-made promotions. It tracks user shopping behavior and purchasing habits via customer profile and by linking to their Facebook accounts.
Tarifah aims to increase customer retention rates and drive new customers to stores by offering unique promotions. Promotions and campaigns can target specific demographics and locations, making it a one-stop app for shoppers. For example, Tarifah can inform somebody who wants a cup of coffee of all the coffee shops in an area who are running promotions on coffee.
Global loyalty market is expanding
The global loyalty market for 2015 is estimated to be worth over $100 billion and is becoming more demanding in light of a new generation of consumers, according to Aimia, a global loyalty analytics company. With over 2,000 downloads and 70 local and international brands collaborating with Tarifah, Issa, Tarifah’s CEO says the company aims to capture only 2-3% of the $150 million GCC market over the next three years. By using cloud technology, he says, the mobile application is able to provide real time analytics, allowing retailers to assess consumer demographics and behavior, and to customize their shopping experience accordingly. When asked about the impact of cloud technology on the mobile application, the founders revealed that cloud technology allows scalability and reduces operational costs. There will be no need to upgrade their servers as the number of downloads increase.
The Tarifah founders at a startup event.
A cloud platform was always the first choice solution, with Samsung and Google being their main partners to make it happen, he said.
As for consumers who are concerned about the security of personal information stored in the cloud, Issa indicated that consumer security has always been a high priority. From day one, Tarifah has worked to encrypt all information from both the user and server side. With the advancement of cloud technology, he says, information stored in the cloud can actually be more secure than many servers in some cases.
A snapshot of what’s ahead
Tarifah is undergoing major changes including a new design and interface. With the help of a feasibility consultant, the interface will be adjusted to better match typical user eye and finger movements to make the app more user friendly for the consumer. In addition, the company is working on other partnerships, which it hopes to announce in the coming months. Moreover, Tarifah is attempting to use its loyalty technology to allow global brands as a platform to develop their own loyalty platforms and dashboards, instead of creating them from scratch. Finally, the mobile app will expand to two undisclosed countries in the GCC by the end of the year. Tarifah’s goal to not only be a known player in the loyalty market, but to also promote itself as a marketing tool for brands.
“Loyalty is still a must for brands to keep the upper hand in competition, but the key factor is to integrate that seamlessly with tracking, analytics, and ability to react in real-time environment in order to build an omni-channel picture of brand’s customer behavior, and this is what Tarifah is doing,” Issa said.