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Baskin Robbins rewards customers via mobile loyalty application

August 19, 2011

The Chatterfly iPhone app

Several Baskin Robbins locations in the San Francisco area are among the local merchants rewarding customers with points that can be redeemed for products and services via a new loyalty application.

Chatterfly has been in beta in San Francisco since March of this year and currently has 150 businesses signed on. In addition to earning points for their purchases, users can also earn points by checking in and sharing an experience on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and Google+.

“We’re a digital version of merchants’ standard loyalty programs that is focused on retention and increasing the frequency of visits,” said Charles Yim, CEO of Chatterfly, San Mateo, CA.

“You can actually earn points for doing social things,” he said. “You can go to a coffee shop, take a picture of a cappuccino, post it to Facebook and get five points.

“Users are getting points for doing something that is social engaging for them but is also rewarding for the retailer.”

Social engagement
The app lets users access multiple loyalty reward programs in their neighborhood via their smartphones.

The focus is on mom-and-pop shops as well as regional chains with a local presence. Other businesses currently signed on include Hola’s Mexican Restaurant, Max Muscle, and Arthur Murray Dance Studios.

Merchants benefit by being able to socially engage with loyal customers and reward them for purchases.

Chatterfly merchants can also track the number of shoppers that were driven to the store, see who the top customers are, what the most popular rewards are and what are the peak traffic times for in-store visits.

During a three week test period with five businesses, Chatterfly found that a minimum of 30 customers signed up for each business and there were 70 actions taken such as checking in, taking a picture or participating in a scavenger hunt.

These customer actions netted 200 rewards and 20 Facebook posts. At the end of the test period, each business added two to three new customers. 

The Chatterfly app is available for the Apple iPhone and Android phones. Versions for BlackBerry and Palm phones will be released soon.

Users download the mobile app and can click on any of the local businesses that they see to find out more about the business. They can also click on points to redeem their rewards.

The app is designed to enable scavenger hunts. Users can find a special object placed in a store, snap a photo of it and post it to Facebook.

In store, customers wave their phone over a paddle to receive their points.

There is also a global rewards program that lets users save points from multiple businesses and apply them towards rewards offered by Chatterfly. Right now, the rewards include headphones and portable speakers.

Customer choice
Chatterfly is working to bring in additional rewards from apparel retailers and consumer electronics companies

Customers to local businesses are being made aware of the app via in-store marketing collateral such as point-of-sale signage, pamphlets and stickers.

Chatterfly is currently looking to expand the concept beyond San Francisco and is partnering with other companies with a strong sales force to assist on a revenue sharing basis in addition to using its own sales force.

Right now the focus is on building out Chatterfly on the West Coast.

“Daily deals sites focus on the short term and are great for lead generation,” Mr. Yim said. “However, retailers are realizing that there is nothing to keep customers coming back with daily deals.

“There are also a lot of loyalty solutions coming out that are literally a punch hole card transferred to the phone,” he said.
“We are points focused so users can accumulate points and choose how they want to redeem them.”

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