The RITE strategy

The pillars of Blue Label’s strategy to grow shareholder value are Reach, Innovation, Trust, and Efficiency, all of which are deeply embedded in our operations and corporate culture.

EACH

Expand all our distribution channels in banking, retail, independent, and informal markets, while investigating new, primarily digital channels.

Add innovative products and services to our portfolio.

We are a magnet for foot traffic to our customers’ retail or digital environments.

The Group continues to live up to its purpose of enabling the fulfilment and upliftment of people in South Africa by providing a wide range of diverse, value-adding products, services and solutions. We continue to grow our portfolio with ever-expanding convenient channels.

Continued investments into technology, carrier grade platforms and scalable operating structures assist the Group in expanding our reach, improving service delivery and speed to market. We accelerate innovation, go-to-market strategies and digital enablement.

Our relationships are vital. We develop deep and mutually beneficial long-term partnerships with the mobile network operators (MNOs), retailers, banks, and independent outlets. As we grow, they grow. We continue to expand our digital solution footprint with active points of presence (POPs) in the main market, retail, and petroleum channels. Our ability to extend the reach of electricity sales and revenue assurance for municipalities further entrenches our relationships and provides exclusivity for other Group products and services.

Our ultimate goal is to drive the financial inclusion of previously underserved markets. We grow our ‘hub and spoke’ model into informal markets in South Africa, where our service is differentiated by extensive engagement and training combined with the provision of marketing material that enhances our customers’ businesses.

Our strategy in action 2021

The Group’s expansion is due to our ever-increasing ability to include more products and services directly into the point-of-sale devices that already exist in our retail, independent, and informal markets as set out below:

  • We currently have 20 million consumers transacting on the Ringas platform since its launch in only September 2020.
  • Transaction Junction processes well over 2 billion transactions per annum and services over 50 merchant retail platforms with payment services at approximately 50 000 till locations and includes a fully certified e-commerce platform.
  • We reconcile over one billion physical cash and virtual payments a month.
  • Our financial services channel continues to grow strongly, supported by consumers’ migration to online.
  • Retail channels remain constrained, while value-added service (VAS) and financial services products are strong.
  • Petroleum forecourt channels delivered small gains with VAS and financial services again showing increases.
  • Our starter pack channel remains resilient with improving average revenue per unit (ARPU).
  • We are increasing retail and wholesale physical channels through new customer acquisitions.
  • We are exploring other online channels to add to our existing ones.

Our RITE strategy

EACH

Expand all our distribution channels in banking, retail, independent, and informal markets, while investigating new, primarily digital channels.

Add innovative products and services to our portfolio.

We are a magnet for foot traffic to our customers’ retail or digital environments.

NNOVATION

Deliver world-class customer-centric solutions across our businesses through platform renewal, improvement, innovation, and transformation.

Agile systems support our entrepreneurial culture and add flexibility that increases our speed to market.

RUST

Maintain a customer centric approach.

Provide exceptional service that is intelligently tailored to the needs of and builds trust with merchants, suppliers and customers.

FFICIENCY

Continuously improve the efficiency of business processes and capital allocation.

NNOVATION

Deliver world-class customer-centric solutions across our businesses through platform renewal, improvement, innovation, and transformation.

Agile systems support our entrepreneurial culture and add flexibility that increases our speed to market.

In a challenging economic and competitive environment, innovation sustains growth. Our deep understanding of customer needs and wants informs both our platform functionality and our product and service offerings. We seek out strategic joint ventures or acquisitions for new product or platform capability.

We are continually exploring ways to improve and learn. We enhance our proprietary platforms by incessantly refining our processes, software, and hardware. Targeted analytical processes, machine learning, and artificial intelligence can help the Group to use the data we receive to design better products and services.

Blue Label can also white label its core technology offerings and deploy consumer applications to specific communities with content and bespoke service requirements.

Our strategy in action 2021

Consumers in the airtime and data prepaid market consistently expect more convenience. Direct-to-consumer strategies and easy ways of transacting renders PINless purchases via major banks a far better way for consumers to transact. The steady growth of PINless transactions in these channels threatens traditional offline airtime and data products, with price as another differentiator. The traditional offline wholesale play is a challenging model to maintain and drive new customer acquisitions. With this in mind our business is going through a complete digital transformation of its current wholesale model as well as a very strong focus on a direct-to-consumer business model.

The Ringas platform is the main driver allowing for this digital transformation. Ringas is a universal voucher that allows consumers to top up any network. Using the correct technology solution, we have the ability to drive for the short to medium term a disruptive PINless wholesale strategy.

Unipay is a development of a single bill payment business solution. This is an exciting new product offering which is focused on driving meaningful growth in the digital bill payment environment. This solution will not only offer both large and small power users the ability to pay their bills online but will also offer any consumer the ability to pay any of their post-paid bills conveniently and securely online. We continue to develop innovative solutions across multiple customer channels.

ITalk2U is a safe and secure web-based application that was developed during the COVID-19 pandemic where working remotely was becoming the new norm. ITalk2U is a decentralised sales platform that allows people to make sales and earn a commission per sale while working remotely, essentially a work from home call centre. ITalk2U is aimed to provide an employment solution, empowering the people of South Africa to create opportunities. There is a significant corporate social responsibility element and iTalk2U can make a real and tangible impact on thousands of people’s lives.

In addition, during 2021 we:

  • invested significant capex in technology.
  • augmented Cell C’s data and improved performance of the base through Blue Label’s innovative data analytics division.
  • responded to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, by equipping our employees to work from home through numerous digital remote working tools.
RUST

Maintain a customer centric approach.

Provide exceptional service that is intelligently tailored to the needs of and builds trust with merchants, suppliers and customers.

The Blue Label ecosystem relies on suppliers, technology, devices, merchants, and customers working together for mutual benefit. The Blu approved brand embodies trust and reliability. We deliver enormous volumes of mission critical transactions to massive audiences and customer bases on a real-time basis.

We invest in significant additional redundancy for improved stability and business continuity. We have virtually no downtime, and our platform, systems, and devices work efficiently.

Across all our stakeholder groups, we have vigilant and accessible processes in place to engage and service all interest groups and customers. The quality of our technology, in conjunction with ongoing innovation, allows our entire ecosystem to evolve alongside us.

Our strategy in action 2021

Cigicell provides municipalities with risk-free revenue protection and enhancement models that help them to unearth lost and stolen revenue. As we strengthen our relationships with them as a premier service provider, it results in higher returns for us. Our growth strategy is founded on the integration and optimisation of the bouquet of service offerings within the Cigicell Group for assuring revenue to South African municipalities, while continuing to ensure that we protect, retain and expand the existing customer base.

During the past year, we continued to build trust internally and externally:

  • Our redesigned operating structure improved our ability to service customers according to their needs.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, we intensified our engagement processes and conducted digital meetings via ZOOM and Microsoft Teams with all stakeholders, including investors.
  • We initiated multiple employee communication programmes aimed at entrenching our cultural values, while providing employees with multiple feedback mechanisms. COVID-19 awareness and education formed a core part of the strategy to bolster their personal and professional resilience in the face of the pandemic.
FFICIENCY

Continuously improve the efficiency of business processes and capital allocation.

We strive to maximise all of our assets to become the lowest-cost producer or distributor of transactions, messages, and digital products, especially through scalability and platform refactoring. Our investment in infrastructure and software improves stability and ensures future capacity.

An efficient treasury function is essential to the success and profitability of our business. Primarily within The Prepaid Company, CEC, and Cigicell, this function enables the acquisition and wholesaling of all products. It also supports Blue Label’s funding of electricity projects and increases the funding of third-party hardware sales.

Our strategy in action 2021

This year presented opportunities for both our customer facing platforms and our back-office technologies to prove themselves fit for purpose during unprecedented times. We proved ready to embrace the fast-tracked remote working context better than many of our competitors, resulting in ongoing high quality service uptime across our technology businesses. Our refactored platforms are driven by aggressive transformation programmes to leverage our newly established ‘always on’ strategy. Our approach is to continue diversifying through vertical and forward integrations of our technology across industry segments.

  • We used this quiet Ticketpro period to transform the offering into a world-class, fully flexible events platform that can cater for any form of events – whether seated or unseated, physical or virtual, local or international – as a white labelled technology platform.
  • We are automating key processes across the business. BluNova, with its data analytics and decisioning expertise, assists units within the Group by digitising and building automated transactional businesses.
  • Transaction Junction now offers a leading 3D secure payment gateway that processes person to person push payments with numerous retailers. It has completed the development of its own PCI certified switch.
  • Blue Label Connect launched its Rubix platform, an online service where consumers can purchase any contract from any mobile network along with additional consumer goods and services.
  • Our Ringas ubiquitous airtime product launched by TPC will become a key differentiator for the transformation of the bulk print industry though new software. This successfully went to market during the current financial year.

All of these services will leverage our new technology backbone and centralised API gateway architecture. This enables us to commercialise our integrations faster and on the best available technologies. More importantly, it the business models transformation that was not possible before, setting us up for a decade of wins and a fruitful FY2022.