Incentivizing Loyal Customers With Perkville Rewards

The startup makes it easier for small businesses to move beyond the old "buy five, get one free" punch card concept.
October 09, 2012

Digital loyalty programs can be a great way to reward frequent customers, but many platforms fall short when it comes to re-engaging clients who've stopped visiting their usual haunts for one reason or another. Perkville is a tool that goes beyond loyalty, providing businesses with straightforward ways to promote their services to long-lost customers and encourage supporters to talk about their brands on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

How It Works

Customers don't have to change their behaviors or habits to start earning points with Perkville. Unlike competing loyalty applications, Perkville doesn't require that users scan their smartphones or swipe any plastic cards to participate. Instead, customers are encouraged to check-in when they visit participating establishments using their e-mail addresses, which are manually entered using a special iPad device that merchants display at the point of sale. Each real world check-in results in Perkville points, which ultimately add up to free products, services and cash back rewards. 

Perkville also rewards users for certain behaviors that have nothing to do with checking-in. For example, customers can earn points for sharing their opinions about certain establishments on Facebook or Twitter, and they can earn points when they refer friends who sign up for their own Perkville accounts.

Perkville In Action

Perkville is a loyalty platform, first and foremost. Beyond incentivizing repeat visits, however, the platform also gives merchants the tools to re-connect with customers through targeted e-mails and limited-time deals meant to lure those customers back into the fold.

At Charm City Yoga in Maryland, co-owner Chris Blades uses Perkville to reward frequent clients and send automated reminders to clients who haven't come back for 30 or 60 days. Attached to these reminders are "Groupon-like offers" that invite those clients to purchase five-class cards at a discounted rate. Blades estimates that his business brings in an additional $2,000 a month because of Perkville. On the other side of the ledger, he gives out roughly $1,000 a month in vouchers that customers earn for reaching certain reward-point thresholds. Although Blades pays approximately $55 a month to use Perkville's platform at all six of his Baltimore-area yoga studio locations, plans for smaller businesses start at just $19 per month.

Why It Works

Perkville serves as more than just a loyalty platform or a rewards program for small businesses. The company also gives businesses a way to re-target past clients with e-mail messages and limited-time offers, and promotes word-of-mouth marketing with incentives for clients who refer their friends. This type of all-in-one platform simplifies marketing for overburdened small-business owners who don't have the time to juggle separate platforms for deal promotions and loyalty. 

Maximizing the Benefits

Yoga studios, gyms and health centers that use MindBody Online or EZFacility can expand their loyalty platforms by integrating Perkville with their scheduling software. Perkville integrates with popular scheduling platforms and awards points to clients when they book their classes online. The platform also uses scheduling data to determine the last date when a client came in, and sends targeted e-mails with promotional offers to clients who've been absent for some time.

Merchants who are interested in expanding their reach on social networking sites can also use Perkville to encourage satisfied clients to post about their businesses online. Businesses looking to increase their follower counts can reward clients with Perkville points for following them on Twitter, while merchants who are interested in beefing up their presence on Facebook can offer bonus points for leaving positive reviews on their company pages.

Read more "How It Works."  

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight. She is based in Portland, Ore.