Ditch The Paper Punchcards: Mobile Retail Rewards That Rule

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Most businesses have jumped on the bandwagon of customer loyalty by issuing customer loyalty cards, ignoring the growing tradition of Loyalty app programs. You’ve probably seen these before. You walk into a business, they start asking you all of this irrelevant information about your personal life, and then they pitch it to you, “we can save you 10 percent off of today’s purchase.” It’s enough to get most people to hand over their name, number, and address.

Once that’s done, the customer receives an endless number of emails and advertisements in the mail. Guess what? Customers have become anesthetized to your advertising. But, it’s not just your advertising. It’s everyone’s. That’s sort of how marketing goes. When one company figures out what works, everyone jumps on the wagon and beats it into the ground until it no longer works.

And, that’s what’s happening with those punchcards, plastic swipe-able cards, and other loyalty-related cards. So, here’s how to ditch them and use loyalty schemes that actually work and that people want to use.



Belly has more than 4,000 merchants in their database, so it’s not exactly a small operation. Basically, with this app, when users come into your store they check in. They can also use an old-school Belly plastic card, but let’s ditch the card concept for a moment and go digital. Users check in and, when they do, you can then send them emails, mobile texts, and connect with them via social media.

Belly Mobile reward programs

Do you see the possibilities with this? You can offer them special deals on products and services periodically or if they happen to be in your area one day when they ordinarily wouldn’t be stopping in. So, for example, let’s say you run a coffee shop. You could run a special for regular customers, and then track the result of your ad campaign. Meanwhile, your promotion benefits customers, and they’re happy to keep checking in with your store because they actually want the emails you send out.


The popular check-in game, FourSquare, isn’t exactly a loyalty program, but it can help you engage with customers that check into your business. This company is brilliant. It’s been collecting data from users playing its check-in game for years. Its reach is almost 45 million people, and it contains 1.6 million businesses. You can advertise on the merchant platform, and you only pay when someone acts on it by tapping on it to see the details of your offer.

Front Flip

Front flip is one of the neatest rewards systems. When users download and use this one, they can “boast” the promotions they receive from you. They can also share them with friends via social media. Like many other rewards programs it offers merchants advanced analytics so you can track and interact with your customers.

GetOne Rewards

GetOne Rewards is simple, but don’t let that fool you. That’s its secret. One of the main features of the system is that it doesn’t use plastic cards and there’s a low barrier to entry. All users have to do is enter their phone number and they are part of the loyalty program. There’s no real way to cheat the system since there are no “check-ins” which means that people can’t check in, not do business with you, and rack up “points” for perks that they really shouldn’t be entitled to. While there are iPhone and iPad integrations, the system tends to work best when you have an iPad POS cash register software system set up and tied into GetOne Rewards.


That way, all customers have to do is enter in their phone number while they’re making their purchase. You don’t have to rely on them doing anything else, since you control the POS system in your business.


Perka is designed to reward people based entirely on the transactions they make, like GetOne, as opposed to check-ins, like Foursquare. There’s a $50 monthly fee to be in the program, but you also get really good analytics with the program. Plus, users don’t need to have a smartphone to participate. Perka works on older phones via the standard text messaging interface (SMS).

This is one of the few loyalty programs that mimic what larger corporations are switching to, so you can punch above your weight.

Jess Anderson is a retail entrepreneur with a passion for technology. When not putting devices and apps to the test for her small business, she enjoys blogging about the tips and tricks to a successful venture in the modern market.


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