Who says you can't get something for nothing? With Swipely, customers can earn points and cash back rewards just for using their credit and debit cards at local businesses. And merchants get access to all the shopping data they need to create detailed marketing plans, including transaction averages, visitor frequency and spending trends.
How It Works
Before customers can start earning cash back rewards for swiping their credit cards and sharing their purchase information through Facebook and Twitter, they'll have to sign up for a Swipely account. Participating merchants can direct customers to Swipely.com, where they can enter a name, e-mail address and credit card number to begin. Registered users can continue shopping at their favorite local businesses just as they always have, knowing that Swipely is tracking their purchases and doling out points each time they use their connected cards. Customers accrue points based on the amount they spend or the number of times they visit a store, and they can earn additional rewards for promoting their favorite stores through their social media accounts. When customers hit their point targets—which merchants can determine based on their marketing goals—they earn cash back rewards that are automatically deposited into their accounts by Swipely.
Swipely in Action
Swipely works through merchants' existing point of sale systems, which means retailers don't have to install any new software or equipment to start rewarding their most loyal customers. At Kreatelier, a store of fabric creations in Providence, Rhode Island, co-owner Line Daems decided to offer customers 20 percent cash back on their purchases after every third visit. Daems receives weekly analytics updates from Swipely, letting her know how many repeating customers have come in and how much those customers spent during their visits. At the end of each month, Daems receives a bill from Swipely based on the amount of cash back rewards she's given out to customers during that time period.
Why It Works
Traditional loyalty programs require significant effort on the part of the merchant, who is typically responsible for tracking purchases and rewarding customers with freebies and discounts when they reach certain goals. Swipely has been successful with small business owners because it eliminates the work required to run a successful customer retention program. Not only that, but Swipely also offers an analytics dashboard showing sales trends, customer spending in their category and individual transaction amounts.
Maximizing the Benefits
One of the biggest challenges for merchants using the Swipely platform so far has been encouraging wary customers to give out their credit card information to a relatively unknown service provider. To combat this issue, Swipely is recommending that merchants advertise their new programs with in-store signage, followed up with e-mail marketing. Using Swipely's marketing manager, business owners can upload their companies' e-mail lists and send invitations to customers with information about their new loyalty programs. This personal touch goes a long way in helping customers feel comfortable with handing over their private information.
Another way merchants can get the best use out of Swipely is by sending targeted promotions to customers based on their purchase histories. The platform also notifies business owners when their most active or engaged customers have suddenly stopped coming in. Using this information, businesses can send marketing e-mails with discount codes and freebie offers as a way to entice those customers into returning to their stores.
Read more "How It Works."
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight. She is based in Portland, Ore.
Photo credit: Swipely