Lagos startup to roll out CityCard loyalty programme


Lagos-based startup ParolZ is in the final stages of beta testing its CityCard loyalty programme, which helps business run their own customised loyalty and rewards schemes.

CityCard has been in beta testing for the last seven months, but head of business development Ayo Akinola told Disrupt Africa it will soon be ready for a full commercial launch.

The CityCard is a digital loyalty platform that allows businesses to run loyalty and rewards programmes. Customers only need one card to access loyalty programmes from any number of businesses, with uses earning points for every naira they spend.

“You can join different loyalty programmes at lots of businesses that you patronise,” Akinola said.

“CityCard aims to help small and medium businesses solve their customer retention problems through a universal, customisable and digitised system.”

Akinola said the startup had noticed only a few businesses focused on customer retention, which in his view is a major contributor to business success.

“Even those that had customer loyalty and reward programmes did it manually with stamp cards or paper registers,” he said.

“We believe that if there was a way for small businesses to get good data and information about their customers, in relation to their business, and to reach out and get feedback on services,, they will be able to better cater to those customers and have them coming back more often.”

CityCard is the startup’s solution to this, with Akinola saying larger businesses already know of the importance of customer retention and can afford the tools to encourage it. For smaller businesses it is more of a challenge.

“We decided to bring that tech to small and medium businesses on a much smaller scale and give them a better chance at competing with these bigger companies,” he said.

“As a result of the current economic situation in Nigeria, many businesses are looking for ways to cut cost and retain their customers. A customer retention solution is quickly becoming a need for the survival of many businesses.”

ParolZ raised seed funding in February to roll out the beta phase of CityCard, and is now in the middle of raising another round for full commercial launch. Akinola said this should take place in the next few weeks.

The company operates a subscription-based model, and is currently testing with over 40 merchants.

“So far, the CityCard has had good reception. Small business owners know the importance of this, but before now, the tech was either too expensive for them or they did it manually,” Akinola said.

“With our free trial and low-cost approach, it has been relatively easy to get businesses to try the system out and even easier for those doing it manually to switch to a digital method.”

Rollout will initially be confined to Lagos, but requests have already come in from Abuja and Port Harcourt. Akinola expects to have the CityCard in three states of Nigeria relatively soon.

“We plan to have the CityCard in all major states in Nigeria and to also assist small businesses in other countries like Ghana, Kenya, Tunisia and Morocco over the next three to five 5 years,” he said.


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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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