A Newmarket company is convincing major international retailers to send their sales data back to New Zealand to be mined for customer information.
Visible Results produces loyalty programme cards and terminals that are used by companies such as McDonalds in Hawaii, Dymocks in New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong, Mobil Oil in New Zealand, Caltex Oil in Singapore and KFC in Australia. It has customers in nine countries and produces programmes in five languages — English, Danish, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese.
Clients send information collected during point of sale transactions by virtual private network or direct connections to Visible Results’ headquarters in Auckland. This data is used to tailor offers to specific customers and provides consumer information to the retailer via web-based reporting tools.
It’s a point of pride for Visible Results chief executive Michael Whittaker that the 15-person company has been able to centralise its operations in New Zealand, though some potential clients have to be convinced that it’s okay to let their data come down to this part of the world.
“I usually say to them, ‘Do you actually know where your server room is right now?’ Most of them can’t say yes,” says Whittaker.
Another persuasive factor is that two years ago Visible Results asked PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct a privacy and data security audit of the company and its operations to show compliance with standards in the European Union, Australia and New Zealand.
Visible Results recently renegotiated its contract with Telecom and although communications costs and bandwidth demands are significant, Whittaker says they’re offset by the fact that the company doesn’t have to replicate its data centre and infrastructure globally. It can also take advantage of the lower cost of operating in New Zealand.
Last February Visible Results bought Kansas loyalty card maker GraphiCard Systems International for $14.4 million and has been integrating it into the New Zealand business over the past year.
A display on the GraphiCard displays users’ points totals and automatically updates them after every swipe.
Whittaker says its overseas deals are worth about $1 million each and this year exports will provide 70% of revenue. He says despite the tough economy Visible Results is still on track to increase the revenue of its parent company, Auckland-based The Atlantis Group, 10-fold in the next two years.