Loyalty programs designed to be easy for the average merchant to pick up and use are becoming an increasingly popular feature offering these days, especially when tied to a mobile payment solution. But Swipely, a pure-play loyalty program provider based in Providence, RI, isn’t worrying about the payment side of the equation, and is instead focusing squarely on providing a truly robust loyalty solution backed by serious data analytics.
Swipely has seen steady growth since its launch, expanding to Boston in December and adding 150 merchants to its platform, then moving on to SF and NY and picking up more than 200 additional merchant users in the process.
“Our typical merchants does about $1 million per year in sales,” Swipely founder and CEO Angus Davis said in an interview. “A little more than half our merchants are restaurants and bars, with other major categories including salons, boutique retailers and other local services.” The expansion has not only been about reaching new geographies, Davis notes, it’s also about helping increase the value of the product for users.
“Today, in addition to a personalized loyalty program, the Marketing Manager offers powerful analytics and targeted consumer campaigns,” Davis said about the new features being introduced today. “Together, they arm merchants with a powerful yet simple marketing machine that grows revenue and bring customers back.”
The new features are free for existing Swipely customers, who pay a monthly membership fee to the loyalty program provider that changes depending on merchant sales volume. It’s clearly designed as a value-add incentive, and the timing is good; PayPal and Square recently unveiled integrated rewards programs of their own, which Swipely will now have to compete with, at least in part. Davis, however, thinks that there’s actually relatively overlap between what the companies are doing.
“Swipely rewards spending by integrating with the payment network, requiring no change in how consumers pay with their credit or debit cards, and no new hardware, software or operations for the merchant at the point of sale,” Davis said. He notes that Swipely appeals to businesses doing significantly more monthly volume in sales than either PayPal or Square’s solutions, targeting merchants that have already invested heavily in existing POS systems. “For more context, the average Square merchant does $2,500 in card payment volume/ year. On average, our ‘big small businesses’ do 500 times that card payment volume annually.”
In the end, Davis argues Swipely’s advantages lie in its ease of implementation. It doesn’t require the merchant to change anything about how they do business – it just adds an incentive layer on top of their existing systems. That may be true, but it’s also likely that PayPal and Square aren’t done with their attempts to grow their potential client base; Square Register is a clear attempt to appeal to a slightly expande set of potential users, and eventually, the company probably hopes its simple, inexpensive and uncomplicated approach will catch on with more established businesses, too.
Swipely is getting ahead of that possibility by making sure as a pure-play provider (which switched from its original focus on reviews back in 2011), its loyalty system offers customers something more than the tie-on solutions bigger companies are getting out there. We’ll see if that’s enough to help set Swipely up as the go-to provider of turnkey loyalty programs for larger SMBs.