The workplace is the new bank branch, and a few fintech startups are starting to realise the power of this distribution channel.
Like retail is a digital-yet-physical omnichannel play, so too is the distribution of financial products through the workplace. To get to the end customer you have to be digitally savvy and relevant, but you also have to navigate multiple obstacles before you hit pay-dirt, namely HR managers, CFOs, MDs, Team Leaders, Payroll…not to mention the receptionist, the arch enemy of every sales person. It’s not for the faint hearted, selling into SME land. Ninja skills are a must.
The company’s closed marketplace allows businesses to offer customers and employees access to discounted flights and hotel upgrades across the world. It’s a clever way of tapping into the growing ‘bleisure’ market’, the concept of combining business activity with leisure time – like a weekend in Paris tacked onto a busy week of meetings, confused train journeys and croissants.
Unsurprisingly, bleisure is popular among millennials. A Hilton Hotels & Resorts survey of business professionals found that nearly 70 percent of respondents aged 25 – 35 wanted to tack on leisure time on top of their work trips. The digital nomad, made famous by slashies (Bali based yoga trainer by day, worker by whenever) must represent the pinnacle of millennials bleisure aspirations. I’m not going to lie, as a millennial myself, a bleisure flow state sounds pretty good to me.
Benefits like travel and hotel discounts and points used to be the domain of credit card companies. But now companies like Upgrade, Zenefits and many more are getting in on the game, bringing financial products with them. With millennials and younger generations eschewing credit for buy now pay later programs, or other forms of payment, benefits need a new home. Employers, ever eager to pacify their millennial workforce and ‘retain talent’ are somewhat easy targets for these sorts of programs. They do solve a problem – until of course everyone has them.
At the end of the day, there isn’t much of a substitute for a great work culture, benefit program or no benefit program. But we’ve all slogged it out in jobs that didn’t exactly measure up on that front, so if something can ease the pain of dealing with Mike in payroll, many corporate soldiers will take it.
Daily Fintech Advisers provides strategic consulting to organizations with business and investment interests in Fintech. Jessica Ellerm is a thought leader specializing in Small Business and the Gig Economy and is the CEO and Co-Founder of Zuper, a new superannuation startup in Australia.