At HMI, we consider ourselves to be pretty modest, down-to-earth people. Just your friendly neighborhood incentive company, trying to make it in this crazy world we live in. Every day there’s more automation, another data capture technology, and so many robots.
But sometimes, we just have to brag a bit.
If you’ve been reading our blogs recently, you might have noticed that we’ve been bringing up our mobile invoice reader, Snap2Claim, quite a bit. That’s because it’s our baby, and we’re very proud of it. In fact, we even won an award for it recently—but more about that later. Today, we want to tell you the story of how Snap2Claim came to be.
This journey began a few years ago with one of our clients, Polyglass, a leading manufacturer of roofing and waterproofing systems. Polyglass had a problem, one that many B2B manufacturers can probably relate to: they knew who was buying their product, but that was pretty much it. They didn’t have much of a relationship with their contractors and they wanted to know more.
We live in the era of Big Data, where knowledge is power: knowledge of who’s buying, why they’re buying it, what other products they buy alongside yours, even the date and time of purchase. Business intelligence and data capture are the keys to everything. It’s like those emails you might get from Amazon: “Based on your interest in Product A, you might also like Product B.” All that information can be used to drive profits—if you know how to get it. And Polyglass, like so many manufacturers, was in the dark.
So this was the initial problem: how to find out more information about who was actually buying their product. To solve it, Polyglass teamed up with HMI to create a rewards program, QRewards, that would help them gain the insights they were looking for. QRewards rewarded its participants—Polyglass contractors—for purchasing their products, but the overall goal was information. Participants earned points by logging the information from invoices for purchases they’d made, which gave Polyglass valuable information on individual customers’ buying habits and as well as a better understanding of general market trends.
The only problem: logging dozens of invoices by hand, one by one, is kind of the worst. Nobody wants to manually key in invoices, least of all busy roofing contractors who have jobs to do. At some point, they might decide that getting those points isn’t worth their time.
The solution? Snap2Claim.
Our solution to the original challenge—how to get Polyglass the information they needed—had led to a new one: how to streamline the process and make it really worth it for QRewards’ participants.
To solve that problem, HMI partnered with Kofax, a leader in Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, to create a state-of-the-art mobile invoice reader that would get the job done for QRewards members without taking up all of their time.
You’ve probably encountered OCR at some point before, probably in the form of mobile banking. Depositing a check used to mean a trip to a brick-and-mortar bank, but, like everything else in the world of 2019, that process too has gone digital. Just take a picture of your check and upload it to your bank’s app—it’s that easy. Worrying about finding a place that’s open on a Sunday is a thing of the past. Welcome to the future.
With Kofax, HMI built Snap2Claim on the same principle: now, all QRewards members had to do was take a picture of their invoice or receipt, upload it to their QRewards account, and let the tech do the rest. Snap2Claim learns as it goes, meaning that it trains itself (with a little help from us on the back end) to recognize new types of invoices and receipts to make the SKU-claiming process smoother and faster. After reading what’s on the invoice, Snap2Claim calculates the amount of points the program participant should earn from it and instantly gives it to them in one fell swoop.
So, with brand-new technology in hand Polyglass set about implementing its new and improved QRewards program and waited to see what would happen.
Spoiler alert: it went pretty well.
The positive effects were immediate, both in terms of member engagement and data capture. QRewards membership doubled, time to submit an invoice improved 500%, and claim activity increased 44% year over year.
Moreover, with hundreds of new invoices coming in from QRewards, Polyglass was able to gain valuable new insights: what products were often bought together, who their most loyal customers were, whether their customers also bought from competitors, and so much more.
Plus, we got an award! This year, the Incentive Marketing Association awarded us with a Circle of Excellence title for the fourth year in a row, this time in the “Innovation” category. All in all, everyone’s got something to be proud of here.
With so much to do and so little time to do it these days, companies need to innovate and create to hold their customers’ attention and loyalty. Whether it’s inviting them to join your new incentive program, updating your current program to reflect the changing times, or finding even more ways to evolve your company, innovation is key. At HMI, we’re exploring the realm of business intelligence and seeing what new technologies can do for us—and for you.