The payments sector is one of the most crowded markets in B2B gambling. With a wealth of global and regional partners to choose from, these businesses must work to position themselves ahead of the crowd and create a meaningful connection with the end user. So how do they go about doing this?
For AstroPay, a business with roots in Latin America before expanding worldwide, building a global affiliate programme and incentivising customers through loyalty schemes is the answer.
Affiliates are a vital part of the gaming ecosystem, and it’s clear to see why. An affiliate programme is purely performance-based, so it delivers a strong return on investment. There’s also a broad, global network of potential partners to work with. Through its global affiliate programme, AstroPay is bringing in new customers to its digital wallet solution.
Once a business has the users in their platform the focus shifts to keeping them engaged. This is where AstroPay’s loyalty and VIP programmes come in. Loyalty programmes can increase a brand’s customer base, drive loyalty, enhance return on investment from marketing and ultimately grow revenue. Perhaps most importantly the customer, engaged and incentivised by the benefits of the programme, becomes an advocate for the brand.
As AstroPay’s head of affiliates Leonardo Alonso explains, this sets up the payments specialist to accelerate its growth plans in 2023.
AstroPay Affiliate Programme
For payments companies, affiliates are one part of a mutually beneficial relationship: both sides are either gaining revenue from commission or acquiring new customers.
AstroPay Affiliate Programme will provide “revenue generating opportunities to affiliatesand access to special deals where they can generate income on an ongoing basis for every new user that joins the payment platform,” Alonso explains.
Not only does it provide partners competitive revenue share agreements, but it also offers dedicated teams and support on sales conversion, he adds.
As an international business, AstroPay looks to differentiate itself by offering a wide range of benefits such as multilingual support and local experts for any of its customers’ needs. Operators specifically can also benefit from AstroPay’s existing partnerships with companies in igaming, forex trading and other industries, and from the AstroPay payment solutions that have been optimised for cross-border payments.
“With the programme, we are offering affiliates a new source of revenue in which they can introduce users to our e-wallet and receive a good profit,” he adds. “Our main differential is that our digital wallet is free for the users and that our brand is widely accepted among merchants in the industry.”
That merchant acceptance element is especially important. “[We] have the largest payment acceptance among our industry,” Alonso notes. This is especially important considering the programme will be available in emerging igaming regions such as Latin America, Asia and Africa, as well as in the UK.
In short, Alonso says, AstroPay offers access to “a community of millions”.
That reach, he continues, would not be much use were it not for AstroPay’s commitment to customer satisfaction. “Our dedicated team of account managers with global presence promote a close relationship with our affiliates to ensure that customers receive the best experience when looking for a payment solution.”
And that customer-centric approach is key to the programme’s success. “We take care of our relationships, working very, very closely with our partners. AstroPay is also aware of the importance of avoiding any abusive behaviour and takes care of the relationship with merchants.”
Once their product offering and the AstroPay Affiliate Programme brings in these customers, AstroPay then faces the challenge of keeping them using its solutions – no easy task in what is a fickle market. Players can – and do – jump from solution to solution due to the sheer range available to them.
This is where AstroPay’s loyalty programme will come into its own, Alonso says. He believes that loyalty programmes keep customers engaged with a brand, meaning the affiliate programme launch has been accompanied by the rollout of a loyalty programme.
In common with many, Alonso believes the igaming sector is very demanding and that “these kind of programmes are a must in the industry, to expand and make it grow”.
AstroPay wants to make its customers feel they are part of the brand, “because they are”, he explains.
“With loyalty programmes, the user base increases, and that is a business driver for us, as AstroPay offers merchants the possibility to access a community of millions of users globally.”
Again, it’s that customer-centric approach coming in: “Customers are all for us,” Alonso says. Not only are customers given more attention through these programmes, they are also given a voice: “We take pride in saying that we listen to our customers and we take their feedback seriously.”
“We are building a growing community of users and their feedback is paramount to help us improve our product and services. We are a very customer-centric company and for sure we take a lot of importance on what our customers say.”
To measure the programme’s success, AstroPay takes into account “new user sign-ups and average transaction tickets”. It also tracks new partners that want to join them, as “that’s a good parameter that AstroPay is on the right track”. There’s a direct feedback loop too; by communicating directly with customers, they can gather real-time feedback.
Whilst loyalty programmes are a great incentive for prospective and current customers, VIP programmes take things to the next level. “Loyalty programmes are paramount for building brand engagement,” Alonso explains. “Solid and lasting relationships are the best to make a business grow and to retain customers.
“Our new VIP Programme entails several benefits for our most valuable users, such as a dedicated team of account managers, special promotions, upgrades and purchase and deposit limits, and AstroPay experiences such as attending a soccer final or a poker tournament.”
The company stands out from the competition by putting its customers’ needs front and centre. “We are a user-centric company and our main advantage is our dedicated team of VIP account managers,” Alonso says. “We strive to give 24/7 attention to our most valuable customers in their own language.”
For operators, VIP status can even be transferrable, allowing a brand’s VIP customers to become AstroPay VIPs for a truly symbiotic relationship. This would double the rewards on offer to the end user, increasing loyalty and engagement with each partner. This means players could be offered extras like higher limits, dedicated support and help with any payment needs that arise.
“Our job is to help operators improve their conversion rates and loyalty schemes are the pillar which we use to achieve this,” says Alonso.
Keeping customers engaged
AstroPay knows that to keep customers loyal and engaged, it has to offer “new, creative and exclusive benefits and rewards”. Moreover, the company has been looking at new ways to build its brand image to make it more attractive and appealing.
Take its partnership with Premier League team Wolverhampton Wanderers. As the club’s front-of-shirt sponsor, its brand is attracting millions of eyeballs. The famed gold and black shirt also acts as an added incentive to its loyal customers.
”We are now giving away Wolves shirts to our most important users as a special treat, since we focus on taking good care of our VIP user relationship,” Alonso says.
This gives its brand global exposure, complementing the acquisition capabilities provided by AstroPay Affiliate Programme, and the retention and engagement prospects offered through the loyalty programme.
Ultimately, its goal through these programmes is to bring customers closer to the brand, keep them happy, and then reward them for being loyal by making them feel special.
Leonardo Alonso is Head of Affiliates at AstroPay, where he leads the team that handles the relationship with the offline and online affiliate network globally. He joined AstroPay in March 2020 as Account Manager. Since then, he has been dedicated to expanding AstroPay business across the world. Leonardo holds a degree in Law and an MBA from Universidad de Montevideo.