Loyalty Programs- Cards are declining... apps are increasing

So our loyalty card program, along with most other places have been declining… and the study I recently read confirms the cards are a thing of the past.
While new phone apps are growing in popularity and are already surpassing the amount of customers and actually USE the program compared to people with a physical card.

So, anyone use any loyalty programs via phone apps or something of the nature of not actually having to hold a physical card?

I am getting started with POSIQ soon. I used Sundrop Mobile till they were bought out and shut down. The loyalty program works by giving points for each dollar spent. When you reach so many points, you get a reward. You set the thresholds.

The nice part about POSIQ and similar programs is that they use the customers phone (mobile) number to track purchases. Each time a customer orders, they enter their phone number. No cards.

There are plenty of ways to track your customers spending habits too. The data that you get is amazing.

My pos system has an option for it but I don’t wish to use it. Loyalty points are connected to phone numbers but my employees like to tap wrong phone lines on the pos which can cause errors in the customers loyalty points account.

Are you not using the cards due to price? Just out of curiosity.

We just stopped using a third party Loyalty Card program due to costs and a dramatic decline in usage.
Loyalty cards are appearing to be a thing of the past and customers are too tired to use them, fed up with having so many cards or just not ineterested in the return for the spend.
We are in the process of having a loyalty program available in our POS system activated. It is set on a dollar spend / points where they get a free pizza once the target is reached. All we need is the customer phone umber and details and the system does the rest. No card, no reminding customers. Just plain and simple and cost outlay is for the free pizza once the target is reached.

There are a couple of chains around here (owned by the same small new england company) Papa Gino’s and D’Angelos that have rewards cards. I used to carry and use both when the rewards were cumulative. A year or so ago they changed the program and all points drop off after 90 days. I tossed the cards and frequent these businesses much less now as I won’t use either cards 10 times in 90 days. I’m not out in the field anymore so I don’t eat out for lunch daily.

As far as loyalty cards go, my comments are based as a consumer and not a restaurant owner.

There is an Ice Cream shop that has been open for a little over 1.5 years that my wife and I go to as it is very close to us. They make homemade ice cream and gelato. They also have frozen yogurt. We used to treat ourselves once a week and would spend $10 ($5 per person) each visit as we always buy the large frozen yogurt. I have 4 filled cards each with 10 stamps, which translates, to $100 that we spent. The card says “buy 10 and get one free”. A few weeks ago we went with another couple and ordered 4 large yogurts and present the 4 cards expecting there to be no charge. The owner of the shop waited on us. She said the cards could only be exchanged for a small serving. I looked at the card and no where did it say small. It said by 10 and get one free. There are no signs in the shop stating what size would be free. I explained that we always buy the large size and expect to receive a large size as free. She stood firm and would not see my point that the cards are very misleading and that the card should spell out what size would be free. I was pretty PO of the way she handled the situation. I gave her $20 for our 4 frozen yogurts and handed her the loyalty cards and told her this was the last time that I would ever visit her shop. She did not blink an eye.

I have no idea as to what her net cost of 4 large yogurts are but I would guess less than $5 and for $5 she has lost a loyal customer and will never get me back. She would have been better off of never offering a loyalty card or if she wanted to go that route to print on the card what size would be given as the free one. I did not go to her shop because of the possibility of getting something free. I went because I liked the product. No matter how much I liked her product and the convenience of her being close I will never go back and I will drive a greater distance to another shop for our ice cream, as I will not give her another penny of my money.

Personally I think loyalty cards cheapen the establishment. If you put out a quality product at a fair price people will come back and give great word of mouth advertising. Piss one person off and they will also spread the word and that is not good advertising.

Heartland has a loyalty/gift card app
I’d be more than happy to share with anyone interested


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Hi Integraoligist,

My team has spent the last two years building exactly that, a pizza shop loyalty program that doesn’t require any cards (although we do offer cards for those of your customers that do not yet use smartphone applications). To avoid turning my response into an advertisement, you can read more about it from the link in my signature, below.

Here are some things to remember when looking for a pizza shop loyalty program:

[]Look for something that is POS-independent, to ensure it works with any POS system you choose to use. Some systems only work with certain POS’s, which tie you down to continue using your current POS system for the rest of your business career, without risking losing your customer’s loyalty rewards.
]Look for something that has some bend to it, meaning something that allows you to make some customization and configuration changes to better match the way you interact with your customers.
[*]Far and away the most important factor is… it must be easy and fun for your customers to use. Look for something that allows your customers to sign up and interact whether they’re at your cash register, at a table, at the office or at home.
Hope that helps!

I’ve found that the KISS principle tends to work best, and a combination of gift/loyalty (think Mercury’s StoreCard program) or something POS-based (Point of Success’ built-in loyalty features) are the best options we’ve seen, especially from a back-office standpoint. For the system-based approach, our clients would have the loyalty set up as a number of points set per menu item (configurable for each product), and redeemable items cost a certain number of points (again, varied by product).

The StoreCard is more of a “gift card and loyalty card had a baby with Chuck Norris” sort of thing. Check out mercurypay.com for info.

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Is the Mercury StoreCard available with Point of Success?

I thought I asked Mercury a while back and they said it wasn’t. I could be wrong.

Do you use it? What do you think about it?

It absolutely is! I have a few clients using it, they have it customized for their own use. Most use the feature that loads a percentage of the transaction back to the card. Lots of great feedback from customers, too!

So, say Bill wants a pizza. Bill comes to your restaurant, buys a $100 gift card and orders his pizza with that gift card. Bill spends $20, you have it setup to reload 10% of the purchase, so Bill gets $2 loaded back on the card. Instead of a balance of $80, Bill has $82 left on the card. So, after spending that $100, he would actually have $10 left. The card is never technically empty, and the customer is incentivized to use the gift card. That means your customers pay you in advance for a good or service they are to receive in the future. On top of that, if they give the gift card to someone else, they are recruiting a customer for you, for free, and possibly for life! Follow up with great products and excellent customer service, and you’ve got a winning combination.

Two other slick features are auto-reload and web-based reload. Doesn’t matter if you are a restaurant or taxi service or whatever, your customer can set to automatically load a dollar amount to the card at a predetermined time. Some of my clients use the web-based reload feature for park districts and such, in that Mommy and Daddy can set their allowance to auto-load to the card, and can reload their kids’ cards from work or home if they run out of money. If they store the card on their kids’ phones, there’s no need to carry anything but their phone to the pool, park or store. No cash, no cards, nothing - just their phone. Plus, there’s no wondering where the kids are actually spending the cash on, as each transaction is viewable on a web portal.

It’s not limited to kids, either. I’m working with a client who would like to implement this program for their elderly residents in an assisted living facility. The families would just keep the cards loaded, and their loved ones can buy coffee, meals, groceries, snacks or whatever using the card in the facilities’ shops, and don’t have to worry about their paper money floating around. Schools and Universities could use this for on-campus stores also - they could even be stores owned and operated by different entities.

Mercury is the only provider I know of that offers free unlimited gift transactions when you process your credit and debit cards with them.

You can also use the legacy loyalty system if you wish (with point of Success only), separate from or in conjunction with MercuryGift and/or StoreCard.

Thank you.

How does the Mercury StoreCard integrate with Point of Success? I’ve seen that the regular gift cards do, but I don’t see how the StoreCard with its advanced features is integrated with the Point of Success system.

Since its basically the gift program on steroids (without the rage), it integrates via the same mechanisms that the gift program does. The only things you’ll have to administer on the POS are add-value transactions and redeem transactions. All the admin stuff is administered through Mercury’s portals. Customers can view their balance and previous transactions (and add value if using StoreCard) through their own portal.

Great, thank you.

It sounds good. I’ll take a look at their website again. I watched a video on it the other day.

I think my last question regarding this for now is can they pay with their gift card using Big Holler online ordering?

Yeppers, they sure can!

Thank you!

No problem :wink:

Let me know if you want to get set up with Mercury or if you need a Point of Success quote.

Apps take data, and you can turn off notifications… I wrote an article about this and you can read it here… Text marketing is more diversified as you can send out unique offers in real time… And you can use the text code to generate new customers …

Excellent article!