By Kimberley Donoghue PBN Web Editor Twitter: @kydonoghue
PROVIDENCE – Swipely is eliminating coupons, Groupons and those pesky loyalty cards clogging up your key chain.
As of Monday, Rhode Islanders can visit 75 – mostly Providence – merchants, ranging from Cuban Revolution and Tortilla Flats to Nick’s on Broadway, and receive rewards for their credit card purchases.
Swipely - previously a website to simply share/recommend places to friends through your credit card purchases - has undergone a major renovation.
It’s important to note that Swipely will not only allow users to take advantage of one-time offers, like Groupon, but also encourages them to come back through merchant loyalty programs, all through one registered credit card or debit card, said Stuart Kiely, director of marketing for Swipely.
“From a user perspective … it’s totally seamless. But, perhaps equally as important from the merchant perspective, [they can] build a loyalty program without any point of sale integration, staff training … without any chance of fraud,” said Kiely.
“In-house loyalty programs are inherently difficult to manage and set up. Swipely comes in and creates that rewards program basically with a flip of a switch,” he said, adding that merchants can create a program in about 15 minutes.
Users will also see integrated Facebook and Twitter posts from businesses they patronize and are encouraged to share their “swipe” story on their social networks.
You go to Nick’s on Broadway, for example, and spend $40 on dinner, Kiely said, explaining a point-per-dollar-spent reward program. “Then, you get a notification saying ‘Here are your 40 points and we’ll give you five more [points] if you share the “story of the swipe” with your Facebook and Twitter friends’.”
“Swipely creates a way for merchants to have a deeper relationship with their customers. Both when they’re in the store and also when they leave. Merchants are also going to be able to turn their best customers into their advocates,” he added. Merchants will also have access to a “rich” reporting function providing analytics and reports on aggregate spending information.
After spending at a Swipely-featured merchant, the discount or cash back will appear in the user’s “Swipely bank.” Users then indicate when they want to “withdraw” their Swipely dollars and receive a check in the mail. Soon, Kiely said, users will able to link their bank accounts to Swipely and simply have their account credited.
Want to know where, when and how much you’ve been spending? Swipely has also rolled out a feature to track, organize, categorize and even pinpoint on a map where you’ve “swiped.”
“The key difference for us is that we have that mechanism in place to keep those customers coming back,” said Kiely. “We want to create a marriage with the businesses.”
And Rhode Island is just the tip of the iceberg. Swipely rolled out its deals and offers features in the Ocean State on Monday and plans to expand the function nationwide.
Although Swipely doesn’t have any specific metropolitan areas lined up, they’re focusing on three possibilities for the near future, weighing the strategic advantages between entering first a primary or secondary market.
Swipely plans to have its deals in every city “probably” through a combination of telesales and “feet on the street” which will “most likely” mean a headcount in each city that’s connected back to the home office in Providence.
“We’re certainly going to be ramping up staffing in correlation to our market expansion,” Kiely said noting that Swipely currently employs 16 people, a majority of which are based in Rhode Island.