Collaboration Nation: a chat with Zapper
With a global increase of 44% in mobile payments, the founders of Zapper have tapped into the zeitgeist by creating an app that services that space. There are few things more annoying than filing out online registration or payment forms and for most – it’s a daily occurrence. Founded in 2011, Zapper specialises in the use of QR codes, to speed up billing, mobile payments and online registration.
Gabby Griffith caught up with the European managing director Bradley Duke, to find out about how Zapper manages its relationships with larger businesses.
Hi Bradley, did you get any mentoring or advice from bigger businesses when you started out?
Personally I have been lucky enough to have had diversity of experience in business, from working in start ups to multinational banking organisations with operations around the globe. But each project has its own set of variables and challenges.
At Zapper.com, we are very lucky to have senior board members who are highly experienced in the sector, having worked in many high profile companies in payments, software and risk management, who offer up great advice freely on many of our daily challenges.
Did you look at any larger businesses’ strategies or structures to model your own on?
I think it’s important for any growing business to have a strong idea of the type of company it hopes to become longer term. Smaller businesses have the advantage of being more entrepreneurial and nimble, but at a certain point, they need to put in place more structure and process in order to scale efficiently.
What are the benefits of working with larger businesses?
For Zapper.com working with large organisations means we can ease the hassle of making payments on a larger scale. Our objective is to have people using Zapper every day to pay their bills, pay for meals, donate to their favourite charities and login to the favourite websites. If a company is sending out millions of invoices every month, having a Zapper Scan-to-Pay QR code on each bill means we can reach millions of new people every month and enlighten them about a great new way to pay their bills that quick, simple and secure.
Larger companies are more demanding in so far as their service level requirements and as such help us at Zapper to raise our game by complying with the high level of standards expected by larger companies.
What are the biggest challenges when working with bigger businesses?
As there is a lot of formalised process around new projects and large companies, it can be quite frustrating moving through the layers and complying with sometimes needlessly arcane requirements and due diligence and just the time taking moving a project forward. But this is just part of the price of servicing large companies.
On our side, we are committed to being highly responsive when the ball is in our court. We can reduce the time of the sales cycle by delivering quickly and not adding any further delay.
At the moment, we are dealing with several utility companies. There are an impressive amount of stakeholders involved in a project to roll out a new mobile payment method and it’s important that each stakeholder is satisfied that their needs are being met as the project gets underway. Each has their own set of objectives, from reducing the cost of collecting payments, to improving accounts receivable stats, to promoting mobile engagement, to improving customers’ perception of the company. For each stakeholder, their objectives are the most important and for us, we need to be cognisant of this point and be careful to address each stakeholder’s objectives to improve the likelihood of success.
Are there any ways around these issues?
The solution lies in asking a lot of questions, listening well, taking notes and responding methodically. If you focus on the reasons why a large business wants to engage with your product, you will be in a much better position to deliver something that will meet their needs and keep them engaged and happy.
Do you think big businesses could do more to help the smaller ones?
Big businesses have a lot to gain from leveraging the great technology and creativity that springs from start up businesses but they can miss out on great opportunity if they are too risk averse.
Small businesses by definition don’t have the balance sheet and often the track record of larger players, but that doesn’t mean they can’t create massive opportunity and value at larger organisations with a well-conceived and executed piece of technology that can make all the difference in their competitive landscape.
How do you think smaller businesses help larger ones?
By doing what some small businesses do exceptionally well – delivering creative and often ground-breaking technology that can help massively with their business problems, whether it’s reducing drop-offs or reducing the cost of receiving payment.
How do you approach big businesses now?
We grow in confidence and stature every week but treat each large business that we approach with respect as they have succeeded in achieving the scale that they have from delivering quality.
Have you ever had a partnership with a larger business go wrong?
So far so good! Some relationships don’t get off the ground for many reasons but we don’t expect everyone to share our vision of the way payments are going. Sometimes it’s just a timing thing. Some people just need time to grasp the power of the solution we’re offering.
How do you intend to grow your business now?
Using QR codes for payments is still a novelty for many. Our approach is simple: the more opportunities people have to pay using their Zapper Scan-to-Pay, the more likely they are to install the Zapper app and keep it on the phone. We want to educate as many people as possible that there is a better way to pay that’s simple, that’s fast, that’s secure.
Brilliant, well best of luck – it was great to speak to you!
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