Surkus platform provides support to local businesses during peak COVID-19
Posted on 2020 Jun,22

Surkus, the platform that helps connect businesses of all sizes with their ideal consumers for custom activations, actively supported a number of local businesses over the past few months with smarter marketing solutions to help drive growth in spite of COVID-19.

The UAE government acted swiftly in their response to COVID-19, introducing precautionary measures to limit the spread of the virus by temporarily shutting public beaches, malls, parks, attractions and shops around the region.

With social distancing and a ‘safer at home’ mandate in place, consumers were forced to remain indoors. Maintaining connections became even more important, with people seeking out ways to connect with the outside world from the safety of their homes. Consumers in the region pivoted to online shopping, forcing local businesses to do the same. According to recent data from Mastercard, February saw a 99 percent YoY growth for online grocery payments increasing further to a 252 percent YOY growth in March, and 316 percent YOY growth in April. A number of brands shifted to create digital sales channels, allowing existing and new customers to continue enjoying their offerings via aggregate and e-Commerce platforms.

At the end of February 2020, Surkus temporarily suspended promoting physical events on its platform to protect the community, instead doubling down to support brands that had digital offers for their customers from the safety of their homes. As a region booming with entrepreneurial spirit, local businesses that could make the shift to digital did so in an effort to continue growing in spite of the recent climate.

“Like most businesses, we too needed to assess the best path forward. Through our platform, brands are able to connect and collaborate with consumers, often with physical actions such as attending events or experiencing a new cafe,” said CEO & Founder of Surkus, Stephen George.“In order to protect our members and the community, we shifted the business to support digital or virtual offers only. Businesses and brands needed to connect with consumers more than ever before. And we were able to give them the tools to continue doing that in the safest way possible.”

Over 60 new local brands joined Surkus during this period, all purely focused on sourcing digital engagement from the platform’s regional user database. During the course of three months at the height of COVID-19 in the region, Surkus increased digital offers on the platform by a staggering 100 percent. Between the beginning of March and the end of May, Surkus enabled a total of 22,500 digital consumer activations. Surkus members, stuck at home to keep safe, rallied and completed these digital offers at an average rate of 89 percent, up from an average of 50 percent in January. The platform saw a steady rise in Surkus members engaging with digital offers since early March, with an 80 percent increase from mid-March onwards.

Surkus UAE General Manager, Mazen Mourad, said of the past few months: “With COVID-19 blindsiding the small business community and everyone, we were able to use the flexibility of our platform to quickly pivot from offline experiences to enabling those same clients to stay engaged with a potential consumer base. I am definitely proud to be part of the recovery, listening to the needs of small businesses in our region, and responding with very customized solutions.”

Recent times have shone a light on the need for real support for businesses of all sizes. With little spare cash to play with and steady overheads, many who struggled to make the switch to digital have suffered as a result. With this in mind, Surkus has accelerated the development of its new product, ‘Local’, designed to offer SMEs exactly the kind of support they need coming out of the current crisis. The new app will focus on connecting local businesses with their ideal customers, encouraging return visits and building brand loyalty amongst consumers. The Surkus Local app will launch in the UAE August 30th.

George said, “Our new app has been in the works for a while but in response to recent events, we decided to accelerate its development. Our number one priority has always been to help businesses and brands grow, and they need technology and support more than ever now. We’re incredibly excited to share Surkus Local across the UAE in the coming months.”

Surkus Local will launch across the UAE in summer 2020.