While you may have seen a lot of headlines over the past year predicting the demise of the traditional wallet, many consumers wouldn't mind keeping their billfolds if they could get rid of the many plastic loyalty cards they lug around. And on the other side of the equation, many small and medium sized businesses would love to find ways to get customers to return to their stores, without the headaches of producing loyalty cards, coupons, and other paper-based offers.
That said, as more and more customers carry their smart phones everywhere and interact with local businesses through mobile apps, the connection between mobile loyalty
programs and mobile payments is emerging. Businesses want a simpler way to forge relationships with customers, while gaining important data about how often they visit and how much they spend. And customers are happy to jettison a wallet full of cards, in favor of a smart phone and a few mobile apps.Mobile App Equals Mobile Loyalty with PaycloudSparkBase
, a company based in Cleveland, Ohio, with expertise in white labeled gift and loyalty programs, debuted a mobile loyalty program in 2011. Using a free mobile app called Paycloud Mobile Wallet, Chicago-area shoppers (55 local merchants signed up for the initial launch), could participate in loyalty programs using either an iPhone or an Android, and without ever keeping track of a single plastic card.
Here's how the program works. Open Paycloud on your smart phone and you'll see a map with blue dots showing the locations of participating merchants. Tap one of the dots and you can sign up for a merchant's loyalty program with just one click. Then when you enter the business location, Paycloud is smart enough to recognize where you are and boot up the app.
Depending on how the retailer has things configured, you can check-in at a business and redeem points you've accumulated, and see specialized offers and rewards. Based on the types of businesses you sign up for, Paycloud will recommend other loyalty programs that you might be interested in.
The best thing about this program is what's not there. On the customer side, you need nothing more than the wireless radio in your smart phone. No chips or near field communication technology. And retailers don't need a fancy set-up either. There's a sensor that interfaces with an existing point-of-sale terminal, and customers simply tap their phone to send an encrypted signal and redeem their rewards.
Find out more about this mobile loyalty program. Mobile Payments Program Level Up Offers Incentives to Customers
Another program that's taking mobile loyalty
one step further into the mobile payments arena, Level Up is a startup company backed by Google. With participating merchants in eight major cities (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle), Level Up offers credits based on how much you spend, rewarding those who frequent a business more often.
First, new customers register for a personal QR code, linking a credit card to their encrypted payment account. Merchants can then scan the 2D bar code directly from your smart phone.
When you try out a new merchant, you get $5, $10, even $20 to spend when you pay with Level Up. The credits don't expire, and future visits unlock additional credits. And the best part? You never have to part with your credit card at a restaurant.
Sellers benefit too, as they have access to real world analytics that show customer visitation and purchasing patterns, and the credits keep consumers coming back. Take a closer look at this mobile payments and mobile loyalty program
.Presto: A Tablet that Brings Mobile Loyalty to the Table
A third mobile loyalty program reaches consumers using tablet computers on restaurant tables. Based on the premise that these mobile computers can supplement the services of a waiter or waitress, they are designed to increase impulse food and beverage purchases through mobile ordering, offer a secure payment option where dining groups can easily split up checks and add standard tips, and even showcase direct signups for a merchant loyalty program.
Deployed by a company called E La Carte, the Presto tablets offer customers easy ways to engage in the restaurant, and lets the owner target customers directly with promotional deals and other offers. Payment credit cards never leave the table, and consumers can provide immediate feedback on their dining experience. With this connection, restaurant managers are also notified immediately when customers are unhappy with their dining experience, giving them time to make things right with the customer before the interaction ends.
Find out more about how E La Carte
offers mobile loyalty options for their customers.
As you can see, each of these companies presents their mobile loyalty
program in a slightly different manner. But each is leveraging technology so that consumers and businesses alike will have the best experience possible.
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