Have you ever gone to a store to return something, only to realize you forgot your receipt, and although you have a membership card with the store, it doesn’t have any record of your transaction? Or how about signing up for a customer loyalty program with a retailer, only to get emails promoting a discount on a product…that you bought two weeks ago. Do you know how many rewards points you have available to spend from your pharmacy? You’re not alone. Retailers today need to get with the times if they want to continue building a loyal customer base, and AppCard is here to help them do just that.
“The idea behind AppCard in three words is, ‘Customer retention simplified,’” Eran Harel, VP of business development at AppCard recently told TMC (News - Alert) in an interview. In a world of online shopping, daily deals and real-time comparisons, AppCard sets out to restore the relationship between retailers and their consumers.
The Internet has enabled a lot of personalization, and that can continue among retailers. With today’s omni-channel experiences, shoppers no longer accept not being able to easily access their account at particular merchants.
There are basically three different categories of benefits of AppCard for businesses:
- Loyalty: Giving shoppers a reason to identify themselves every time they make a transaction.
- Data: AppCard breaks down data and generates 105 different reports to help retailers understand their entire business, all in real-time. Retailers can have access to all kinds of transaction data, cashier performance information, what kind of offers drew customers in, demographic information and how much consumers are spending in any given time frame to help retailers optimize their businesses.
- Making data actionable: Merchants can communicate with shoppers before they get to the store, while they’re at the store and as they leave a store. For example, if you purchased a new dress, a retailer can trigger a real-time offer for 25 percent off on a purse, belt, shoes or any other accessory because it knows you are still at the mall, customizing offers based on real-time action items (buying the dress).
“It’s all about a better, more efficient customer experience,” Harel said. “We believe that the relationship between consumers and retailers needs to be transparent and simple.”
AppCard does not require integration with any point of sale (POS) systems, so it can easily work with different retailers.
From a shopper’s perspective, AppCard is a single app and ID across all businesses – no more multiple rewards cards from different retailers taking over your keychain or hogging your wallet space. Consumers can control what kinds of offers they receive and who they get them from, and Harel emphasized the company’s belief against emails or spam messages. “We don’t want to spam the shopper,” he said. Everything is done as a push notification through the app.
In order to build and power this real-time solution, AppCard needed connectivity. That’s where Sprint (News - Alert) comes in. AppCard didn’t want to rely on merchants’ networks, since many have unstable networks.
AppCard is based in New York City, and when Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast last year, nearly half of the city was disconnected, and the other half had connectivity issues, including many of AppCard’s customers. Because it relied on Sprint and its M2M technology, AppCard never stopped working; it enabled its merchants to use it as a fallback network.
“We realized there’s an opportunity here; not only for us to have a primary network for AppCard, but as a backup for merchants as an enhanced service,” Harel explained.
Sprint is just one of many AppCard partners, which also include EPSON, POS Solutions, CAP Software, Grand Victora, Retail Pro and R-Tech. Keep an eye out for what the company has in store for the future, because customer loyalty is only the beginning of transforming the retail experience with AppCard.
Edited by Ryan Sartor