Wouldn’t it be cool to pay for parking with points accumulated at your favorite local coffee shop? What about getting a new pair of shoes with points earned by frequently picking up bread at the local bakery? Or going out for a round of golf courtesy of the dry cleaners you visit all the time?
Small businesses can’t compete with big chains or corporations when it comes to loyalty programs. They don’t have the capital to invest in building massive, innovative programs, and often have to depend on something simple like a small stamp card, which doesn’t provide them with any customer data or differentiate between higher or lower value customers.
Impressive loyalty analytics, customized rewards, and easily tracked points are often the mark of a large company – these sorts of features usually aren’t accessible to small businesses with less data and fewer resources.
A company in the Netherlands called Shopper Concepts is looking to change that.
In partnership with InfoTrellis, Shopper Concepts is creating a loyalty management and analytics program for the connected, savvy customer. This loyalty platform, called Buzzoek, is emerging as a unique and powerful tool for small business owners. Throughout Amsterdam, local businesses that use this loyalty platform pool their resources, sharing transactional data for more powerful analytics, connecting to better learn the individuals who buy from them and what their likes are. They can even enable customers to use rewards points earned at one store in any other store that uses the same program.
Consumers can even share their rewards with friends (or even total strangers!) via Facebook, Twitter or Email. The team behind the Buzzoek loyalty program has also partnered with UNICEF to allow program members to donate their rewards directly to charity.
They even combine their rewards programs into one convenient tap card across all of the involved businesses – Buzzoek converts a card the customer already has in their wallet (like a transit pass or a library card) into a rewards card that can be used at any one of the fifty locations using their program.
With an established foothold in the city of Amsterdam, the company is building a networked web of small local businesses that have the loyalty data and analytics capabilities of a massive corporation.
This isn’t the first example of people using communal resource pooling to sidestep the involvement of corporations. With consumers coming together to crowdfund projects and products they want to see, local communities launching their own internet using rooftop wifi antennas, and even groups of programmers creating goofy cryptocurrencies that they then used to send teams of athletes to the Olympics, people are increasingly coming together to accomplish previously unachievable things in unison with other invested individuals.
Shoppers Concepts is already in full force with its dozens of connected stores, bringing together businesses like Alexander Hairstylers, Chocolate Company, and Doppio Espresso to reach exciting goals with their loyalty programs they would have struggled to accomplish in isolation. Using the InfoTrellis AllSight Big Data Insights Engine, Shoppers Concepts is making bold new steps towards simplifying things for consumers and enabling small businesses to work together to serve them better.
Suddenly, small businesses can interact with and reward their customers like the big businesses do. Considering the fact that small businesses are typically more flexible and connected with their community than larger ones, could this signal the beginning of a new era of small entrepreneurs fueled by next gen loyalty technology?