​​

Pubs, Bars, Cafes, and Lounges (PBCL) are where one might expect the most population density on the first day of a new year. The PBCL industry was valued at $2.3 billion in India, in 2019. Ever since the turn of the century, the rising disposable income of the middle class and a general sense of ‘being affluent’, has led to a normalization of “parties” in PBCL establishments. So, it is absolutely strange to see an UN-crowded pub, especially for a major event like a New Year’s party. 

Needless to say, PBCL is among the worst hit industries during COVID times. When social distancing restrictions are lifted, all anyone wants to do is to hit the dance floor and get drunk at their favourite joint. Until then, these establishments must make do with a fraction of the footfall that they once used to have. 

With the exception of major holidays like Christmas, New Year, Valentine's Day, etc. where PBCL establishments must make themselves attractive to undercut the competition, there are several gaping holes in their existing marketing strategy that we’re finally beginning to see. 

For nearly two decades, the PBCL industry has conditioned their market to enter their establishment because they have “offers” like Happy Hours or Ladies Night. In fact, many establishments are known for what they offer during certain times of the week. Nobody is a stranger to “Pub Lunch” at 10 Downing Street for under INR 400, with a beer thrown in, or their local drinking joint that offers “MRP Mondays” just to have people drinking on the day of the week they have the lowest sales by volume. 

The problem with that is, the entire PBCL industry has put itself in a situation where it is normal to hand out big discounts incessantly, and then count on an abnormally large crowd to make up for it by purchasing alcohol in a collective frenzy. 

An ideal case situation might look like this: A moderate number of people walk in during all the business hours of the day, pay for the quality of food, drink and ambiance at a fair price, and come back for the value of that experience. It was probably not a practical thing to aspire for pre-COVID. But with the whole “new normal” of working remotely and not needing to spend half a day commuting, maybe it’s possible now. The immediate problem, however, is that PBCL establishments still need to give out 1+1 offers on their food and drinks, while having to strictly control the number of people they entertain at any given point in time. 

This gives rise to a curious question: Is there any chance we can stabilize footfall and revenue at PBCL outlets without giving out cash-based discounts? 

Thankfully, the short answer is: Yes. 

A Reason To Celebrate

Despite the fact that every imaginable thing can be purchased online, one still needs to walk into a bar to get a drink. Two reasons: You still can’t order alcohol in most parts of India, and you really need a noisy place to shout your camaraderie to friends to make it count as “getting out”. 

On the customers’ end, the pay-off to spending the money they worked so hard for is the social incentive of doing the ‘in-thing’ with the people whose love and admiration they count on. There is a premium they will pay for a good time, and will still look for a good deal while doing it. But what if their preference for a PBCL establishment isn’t determined by the offer of the day, or a coupon they unlocked via an aggregator? While those may be tried and tested tools for customer acquisition, they aren’t as effective for customer retention. 

So, is there a way to break the cycle of customer acquisition and re-acquisition? Can customer acquisition and retention happen with a single transaction?

It is, with Zithara’s UPI based cashback system. And the best part is, the cashback isn’t offered in INR, but it holds a similar value for the customer. 



Picture this:

A customer walks into a PBCL establishment, pays for everything at full price and makes a payment via the Zithara QR code- from a UPI app of their choice. Once the transaction is complete, their phone number receives a cashback in ZiCoin. They use the ZiCoin credited to them, to discover new products and services that they might like on Zithara’s seller platform. Thus, for every 100 rupees they pay via UPI to an offline establishment, they get 40-60 rupees more value on it from new purchases made via ZiCoin. 

So, how does an offline merchant benefit from this? Here are the top benefits of becoming Zithara’s merchant(ZiMerchant):

1. You add no new technology: You continue using UPI via QR codes. It doesn’t need your customer to learn anything new or download anything on their phone. 

2. You save on the 2% transaction fee that you would pay for credit/debit card transactions: #DigitalIndia FTW. 

3. You control how much cashback you give: This is a fully customizable program where you can offer a higher percentage of cashback in ZiCoin for higher spend. 

“Existing ZiMerchants have completely eliminated cash-based discounts from their business promotion model and have successfully increased the average bill value per customer by 35-40%.”

4. It costs you a fraction of giving out cash-based discounts: Kid you not. Paying back in ZiCoin is only 1%-5% the cost of a rupee-based discount or cashback.

5. You build real customer loyalty: People come to you for you, not for your discount. They pay for the value they experience. The mode of incentivizing purchases from you changes in a way that allows the customer to extend the mileage of their cash, rather than pay you less.  

If you’re ready to take this ride, register to be a ZiMerchant Click here.