Swipely Beefs Up Its Credit Card-Based Loyalty Programs

Once a service for simply sharing purchases, Swipely is contining its evolution into a credit-card based loyalty program for small businesses with a set of new merchant tools it announced Tuesday.

The tools allow Swipely’s 350 merchants in Boston, San Francisco and New York to target their customers with deals based on recent purchase interactions with their small businesses. Merchants can, for instance, send a “we miss you” offer to customers who haven’t made purchases within a certain time period or a “thank you note” offer to those who have visited recently.

Using a new dashboard called the Main Street Marketing Manager, business owners can divide and target customers by metrics such as days since last visit, average purchase amount and whether or not they’re connected with the business on Twitter and Facebook.

Swipely argues its especially well positioned to deliver these metrics to small businesses because it bases loyalty programs on credit card history. Rather than burdening customers with separate cards or coupons that may not be forgotten at home, businesses that use Swipely encourage their customers to sign up for loyalty programs through a credit card they already use. They then receive rewards automatically as they spend money with participating merchants.

Previously, Swipely’s rewards had been limited to a simple points system. Users who spend a certain amount of money were rewarded with a certain amount of discounts. The new offers program is an opportunity to target specific customers at specific times.

“We’re not just showing you that 144 customers are lapsed,” Swipely CEO Angus Davis tells Mashable, “but we’re making that information actionable.”

But Swipely is not alone. A number of startups and big players alike are hoping to become the loyalty program provider of choice for small businesses. SCVNGR’s LevelUp app, for instance, lets users pay by scanning a QR code at registers. By using the app to pay, they unlock discounts.

Meanwhile, “mobile wallets” from PayPal Google and mobile phone carriers aim to become platforms for merchant deals and loyalty programs — though the adoption rate of these loyalty options is somewhat stinted by requirements for either software updates at merchant terminals or specific mobile phones.

Swipely instead relies on a piece of plastic that has been sitting in most U.S. consumers’ wallets for decades.

“It doesn’t require a smartphone application, it doesn’t require any upgrades on hardware in the store,” Davis says.

But the system isn’t without barriers. Swipely found out consumers didn’t want to share their purchase histories with each other with its first product. The startup says it only has access to information about customer purchases from its partners, but convincing customers to link their credit cards to Swipely requires some encouragement. Swipely says it equips its merchants with in-store signs and makes it easy for them to leverage their existing email lists.

Source: Swipely Beefs Up Its Credit Card-Based Loyalty Programs