Win-win situations rarely happen in life, but Belly aims to change that—the Chicago-based company has created a smartphone customer loyalty program for retail-based stores. Belly rewards customers with personalized rewards and simultaneously provides data back to store owners with insights that can help grow their business. This system gives access to behavioral data from customers that is usually only available to bigger retailers and provides an enjoyable experience to their customers to improve retention. With over 7,000 merchants across the U.S. using the software and well over a million users of the app, Belly has caught on like wildfire.
With local businesses losing more and more money to online shopping and big retail like Wal-Mart, Belly is giving small-business owners the ability to not only establish a more meaningful relationship with their customers, but maintain that relationship and convert them into a sustainable loyal customer base. Although Belly may be seen as only a solution for small-business owners, it is definitely powerful enough to large franchises build customer loyalty and gather analytics as well. Everyone can use help with customer retention whether it’s a local mom and pop restaurant or a big franchise with stores throughout the country.
Unlike many loyalty programs, Belly reward points are based on the number of visits and not based on the money you spend. Belly allows you to check in at participating retailers and earn rewards just by visiting the stores. When you download the app, it will assign you a personalized QR code that you scan at the retailer’s iPad POS system that automatically checks you into the shop. There’s no need for you to keep up with a rewards card, everything is accessible right on your phone. The app will register these points and send your personalized rewards tailored specifically to your customer behavior. The app is extremely easy to use and allows you to pick up pretty quickly how to put it to good use. The interface is clean yet unique giving the app a distinct look without making it overly complicated for the user.
Pricing & Availability
For businesses, the software is divided into three pricing tiers. “Snack” ($79 a month), “Meal” ($99 a month), or “Feast” ($149 a month)—all of which are based on the needs for your business. Features include unlimited loyalty cards, customer email aggregation, social media integration (Facebook and Twitter), marketing materials, detailed analytics, customer demographics, and even quarterly loyalty consultation depending on what bundle you purchase.
When ordered, businesses are offered a kit which includes a Nexus 7 Tablet or iPad Mini depending on what bundle they purchase as well as a case, lock, and stand. Each business receives a merchant success manager and no matter what tier you buy into—you receive at least one email marketing campaign.
For consumers, the app is available for both Android and iOS but most importantly, it’s free. All that is required is a simple download to and customers are ready to start saving money and gaining rewards.
What it does well
For one, Belly finally gives customers freedom from physical loyalty punch cards that clutter wallets and purses, yet always go missing one punch away from redeeming an award. And Belly not only rewards for one store, but a combination all participating stores’ loyalty programs.
The app can even track your location and determine where the closest participating stores are to your current position. Participating stores include a wide variety of retailers that include not only restaurants and clothing stores but also more specialized shops such as health spas, nail salons, car washes and even pet stores. Customers can easily keep track of how many points they earn and even store their favorite places. A great incentive is that many of these rewards are exclusive to Belly only.
Accumulating points happens pretty quickly, especially in cities like Chicago where there are bevy of participating retailers. Other cool features include store profiles which includes business hours, phone numbers, websites and even a “Let’s Get Social” section to connect with businesses on Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp. Just an all-around fun experience for the consumer to earn points and gain awards, and in return help businesses with customer retention issues.
What we would like to see in future updates
Better social media integration—for instance, when clicking on Facebook, Twitter, or Yelp in the company profiles on the iPhone interface, instead of being taken directly to the page you requested, you are brought to a blank page with a button up top that says “More” which users have to click on to open it up in their phone’s browser. It would be easier if the app automatically directed you to your phone’s browser, and it’s not exactly clear for first time users of the app.
We love the app so much that we would love to see Belly branch out to more cities and more retailers. For cities like Chicago where the app was founded, there are plenty of options but in other areas options might be limited due to the lack of participating retailers.
There’s not much to dislike about Belly, from its easy-to-use unique interface for customers to its ability to not only help small businesses capture detailed analytics of their customers but build stronger, long lasting relationships with their customers—this app is a joy for all involved. Tons of new retailers and customers are being added on a daily basis. Don’t be ashamed to jump on the bandwagon too, it’s well worth the ride.
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