Local Entrepreneur making moves with mass marketing solutions in Africa


Accurately tracking your return on investment (ROI) on an often very costly advertising campaigns, featuring mainstream channels , among others, television, billboards, radio, as well as traditional magazine and newspaper adverts has always been extremely complicated.

2Engage, a customer engagement and incentives solutions business, has been working predominantly in Africa for the past nine years offering marketing solutions that can accurately measure and generate a positive ROI for companies operating in the retail sector.  “We use technology and not mainstream media to help our clients to effectively engage with customers outside of South Africa,” says MD Andrew Weinberg.

Weinberg is a seasoned entrepreneur having started his first business; ‘Rent a wreck’ while a first-year student at the University of Cape Town.  Several entrepreneurial ventures later, he recognised a gap in the mass market for brands to engage more effectively with their respective customers.

The company’s Retail Engage division focuses on connecting FMCG and lifestyle brands with customers in peri-urban and rural areas.  2Engage currently works across eight African countries and operates with more than 180 independent, traditional grocery retailers.

“Our retail solution is called Bonsella, which gives brands the opportunity to access this growing market, which has been a ‘blind spot’ for many brands due to the lack of measurable media and communication platforms in the independent retail sector.  South Africa’s leading brands leverage our platform to interact and understand this market, which contributes over 50% of South Africa’s shoppers.

“Brands use Bonsella to improve sales and category share by putting their products in our stores.  Customers who are registered with Bonsella are incentivised to purchase the products and receive instant airtime rewards at the till.”

More than 1 million shoppers are currently registered with Bonsella and are rewarded each time they shop.  “70 000 members sign up every month for the rewards programme, which has proven to successfully grow customer acquisition and retention, as well as reinforce value-enhancing behaviour,’ explains Weinberg.

The company’s team of 430, which Weinberg estimates will more than double in the next three years offers many job opportunities for unemployed youth, as well as the unique opportunity to participate in robust brand research.  “We have 300 permanently employed field staff who execute on various campaigns and who can, within a day, complete more than 1500 interviews with customers, at a fraction of the cost.”

This data platform is another major factor in the business, which is already being monetized with local brands.  “With 2.5 million members anticipated by the end of 2019, we have a very rich and unique data set, which will be a major growth point for the business as we enrich it,” says Weinberg.

So, what key factors have led to 50% growth year on year for the business?

Weinberg attributes the company’s growth and success to its unique concept, which is flexible and sustainable and has the potential to grow the business exponentially and globally. “We have already had significant international interest in our product and are currently in talks with leading retailers in Brazil and Asia.”

Another factor is 2Engage’s database, which, given its  footprint and growing member base, will soon be the biggest independent database in South Africa that is POPI (The Protection of Personal Information Act 4) compliant.  “Our unique technology is also a key success factor.  It is a completely bespoke development, written and based on specific business operations and input from clients, enabling us to build unlimited innovative solutions. It offers us constant agility and our clients a solution that can be tailored to meet their unique needs,” says Weinberg.

If the last nine years has been anything go on, the sky seems to be the limit for Weinberg and his team as they continue to innovate with effective marketing solutions for mass markets around the world. Andrew Weinberg is a finalist in the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS. For more information on 2Engage and Retail Engage, please visit the website: http://www.2engage.co.za/retail.html.