We spoke to the co-founder of GreenJinn, the app that’s helping brands give their consumers exactly what they need – one grocery coupon at a time.
Many new technology ideas are being born out of the need to address pressing social challenges – this is proven by the sharp rise in start-ups using technology for social good. In fact, the numbers of social good projects have nearly doubled since 2015.
Start-up, GreenJinn saw how technology could help cut costs of essential groceries for UK shoppers while lowering food waste. It developed a free app, putting the wheels in motion for a new type of grocery coupon. Co-founder and data enthusiast, Roberto Amerghi, says his cashback app has also created a new way to kick-start a personalised interaction between brands and consumers.
Using technology to understand what products an individual needs in real-time, GreenJinn says it has helped consumers save around 20% of their monthly shop since launching in October 2016, and has saved them over £1m in 2018 alone. We spoke to Roberto about how app-based technology can put social responsibility at the heart of business and how his app has helped 158,000 users cut the cost of their everyday shop.
Can you tell us a bit about what you do at GreenJinn and your background?
My role at GreenJinn is to make interactions between our customers and the services we offer as convenient and efficient as possible. After University, I was a management consultant for the banking and the retail industries, so to adapt the strategy of these big institutions, I’d first investigate what the actual needs of the customers were. It’s really important that any service is designed to meet clear customer needs. So at GreenJinn my role is focused on researching and understanding the requirements of our customers and how we can improve our service based on what our customers want.
Where did the idea for GreenJinn come from?
As young professionals and modern consumers, my co-founder Giuseppe Licari and I typically shopped around for groceries based on convenience. We realised that there was a gap in the market for a loyalty scheme that could be used across different brands and retailers. By interviewing other people, we realised that it was quite a common pattern for people to keep purchasing similar products, but buy them from different retailers. So, we decided to create a mobile tool to encourage a direct interaction and communication between the consumer and the brand to establish a loyalty to the products and the brands they like.
Do you see GreenJinn and other technology solutions stepping in to help address social needs?
Yes, especially where the price of essential goods is increasing progressively. We’re trying to adapt the technology to the needs of the consumer to help them save in a personalised way. Every week we propose a selection of products that are relevant to the user based on their needs. It’s a very fast cycle and has become routine for our users. It’s funny – they look forward to Monday mornings! When it comes to both increased [food] waste and tighter budgets, it’s important to carefully select the right products to buy, particularly the products that you really need. It’s very important for us to support consumers in this shopping journey with an efficient money saving tool.
So, they’re the consumer benefits, what are the brand benefits?
At GreenJinn, we work with both emerging and well established brands who come to us with very different needs. Most of the time emerging brands have very good products but don’t have the money to run TV adverts or access bigger communication channels. We give them the access to grow their audience in a targeted way, so they don’t waste their promotional budget on advertising products to people that are not in their audience groups. Additionally, by measuring promotional effectiveness through our machine learning capabilities, we can personalise their interaction with their customers to create a long-term relationship that’s based on rewarding loyalty. We recently helped an emerging brand drive an awareness campaign with a reach of over 60k shoppers.
Do you think technology can help brands meet their CSR goals by doing good in the world, like you’re doing with GreenJinn?
Absolutely. Our system rewards shoppers for buying healthy products. It gives more nutritional information to the users about the products they’re buying. This creates an opportunity for the brands to develop a positive association. The focus is on creating a positive strategy to address the quality of products and the important global issues, like fair trade and global warming.
Does your influencer programme have a big impact on your outreach?
Definitely. Communication through social media is very important, especially with a new community of micro-influencers. So, we carefully select our partners and we collaborate with micro-influencers who we think are in line with the needs of our community and are motivated by common values. Through influencers, the products we promote and the app itself, we’re more visible to potential users.
What’s been your experience as a start-up working with brand giants?
We found that big businesses have a great vision and great possibilities. They see many benefits in working with startups like us because of our inherent agility and flexibility. We can set up and optimise promotional campaigns in a matter of hours, allowing brands to react quickly to gathered insights. And, we can respond to a clearly identified customer need, which is so important to get the support of larger brands.
If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice to make your entrepreneurial journey easier, what would it be?
I think the first thing is trying to get to market as quickly as possible. Even if it’s just a prototype, it’s important to start interacting with your customers and users as soon as possible. That way you can keep testing it and receiving feedback, begin engaging with small communities that are enthusiastic about the concept and tailoring it to their needs. Testing is key.
Want to know more about how technology can support your CSR initiatives? Read our article below on how championing CSR can help to attract consumers.