OSWEGO, NY — Oswego businesses are quickly getting on board with one of the newest customer reward app program out there today, Appcard.com.
Ann Backer, of Taste the World Specialty Foods and Coffee, is the driving force behind this new initiative. She brought the concept back from a trade show in New York City and recently introduced it into the Oswego business community.
“I looked into one program, but it was very costly (for businesses),” Backer said. “Then I met the gentleman doing the Appcard.com program at a fraction of the cost., but just as good. It sounded like a very worthwhile program for me to try.”
She found it so good, in fact, she has been holding informational sessions to acquaint other business in Oswego about it and the response, she said, has been great.
The process, Backer said, is very simple. The app card is a nationwide loyalty card in which the consumer can sign up with any of their favorite retail operations currently using the card. Normally, Appcard.com charges $40 a month, but they are offering it up to Oswego businesses for $25 a month with a one-year commitment.
“When a retailer signs up, they get a free app card machine and are given 200 cards for free to initialize the process for the consumer,” Backer explained.
The retailer initializes the card by entering the consumer’s phone number into the machine and then swiping the card. This will then send a mobile app download to the consumer’s smart phone, which contains all of the participating businesses across the country and what deals they are offering.
The card only needs one initial swipe because once one retailer activates the card, it initiates the program for all businesses using the app card.
Consumers do not need a Smart Phone, however, to take advantage of these deals. They can simply sign up online by going to Appcard.com.
“Once the card is activated or you sign up for the program online, you don’t really need the phone or the card – just need your phone number,” explained Victoria Usherwood Gailinas, founder of I Heart Oswego and a member of the DOERS (Discover Oswego Energetic Retailers), who support this program.
“This is so much better than a punch card system,” Backer said. “I have done that before and had to print the cards, punch the cards and if the customer loses their card, they are out of luck. This system carries everyone who is participating with their logos and will virtually punch the card for you.”
Several businesses around Oswego have already signed up, offering a variety of rewards through purchases. Some of the include Rudy’s Lakeside Drive In, Element Massage, Man in the Moon Candies, Liz Scott Boutique, Fey Dragon, Mother Earth Baby, CoffeeNook and Fred’s Auto Parts, which offers a $25 Visa gift card with five $50 purchases.
Linda Syrrell, owner of Harbor Towne Gifts and Souvenirs is also on board with the program, offering her loyal customers a $10 gift certificate for every five $15 purchases.
“The goal of the program is to encourage people to shop locally and reward them for doing so,” she said. “I am always looking for ways to reward my shoppers because they deserve it, so when Anne broached me about this, I thought it had a good community feel to it. We have been under way for about two weeks with the card and people seem pleased with it and pleased that other businesses are taking a look at it as well.”
One thing that Gailinas suggests is for the retailers to keep their offers easy to attain within a short amount of time which creates the loyalty for shopping.
Backer pointed out that this type of reward program is also fun and interactive for the consumer.
“They get a free download to their phone and from there they can track their own purchases and when they get close to their point of receiving their gift, they get a message saying they have a gift,” she said. “When they come in to the store offering the reward, it will ask if they want to redeem it now.”
Backer said if they slide or drag their finger across the YES bar code, it will reveal a number that the retailer enters into the terminal.
“That is what records the free coffee for me,” she said, explaining the program offers the businesses a multitude of reports and analytical information about their customers’ purchases and how many members their business may have.
“Customers can also use (Appcard.com) for a search engine to see who is participating along with a little information about the business,” Backer added.
For more information, go to Appcard.com; call Backer at 216-4625; or Gailinas at 402-6623.