6 Post-Couponing Tools for Merchants

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couponsWhen it comes to getting more customers through the front doors of a business, it’s hard to beat the effectiveness of a simple coupon. Mobile coupons have a redemption rate of 10%, according to a report by Juniper Research, with 92.5 million people in the U.S. redeeming a digital coupon in 2012 alone. But what happens after those coupons are redeemed?

But customer return rates on traditional coupons are notoriously low. So rather than saying goodbye to the customers they fought hard to acquire, SMBs are increasingly offering follow-up deals, known as “post-couponing.” Post-couponing platforms give businesses a way to drive incremental revenue by providing additional value to customers who have redeemed mobile coupons. By giving away reward points or small gifts (like a free appetizer or product sample), businesses can provide an added value to customers without continuing to discount their regularly priced goods.

Here are six platforms that provide post-couponing tools for businesses of all sizes.

1. Plink: Reward loyalty without discounting your own products.
Plink is a passive loyalty platform designed to drive repeat customers into participating stores and restaurants. Shoppers automatically earn points when they use a credit card they’ve linked to the program, and they can redeem those points toward Facebook credits or gift cards from a number of major retailers. Plink requires no POS integration or employee training for businesses, with purchases being tracked behind the scenes through shoppers’ credit cards. Although Plink is free for consumers, the company charges merchants a “percentage of the sales generated by Plink members.”

2. Ifeelgoods: Provide an incentive for online customers to stay loyal.
Rather than giving shoppers a 10% discount or $10-off their next purchases, online retailers that partner with Ifeelgoods can reward their customers by offering $10 worth of credits on iTunes, Skype, Pandora, or any other number of popular apps. Businesses can offer “micro-incentives” for doing things like signing up for an email list or making a purchase. Online retailers can also target the incentives they offer based on the products their customers are currently looking at. For example, a shopper browsing video game consoles might get an offer for a free video game with purchase. Ifeelgoods doesn’t disclose pricing, but says it charges retailers for services plus the cost of the rewards being distributed.

3. LocalBonus: Offer cash back incentives to repeat shoppers.
LocalBonus offers a turnkey solution for local businesses that want to encourage repeat customers without offering discounts for every visit. Customers who link up their credit and debit cards can earn points each time they shop at a participating establishment or complete bonus activities like linking multiple cards or inviting friends to join the program. When shoppers accumulate enough points, they can “cash out” and request payment from LocalBonus via PayPal or check. LocalBonus uses a “pay-for-performance” revenue model, charging businesses a fee for the service along with the cost of any cash rewards given out.

4. CheckPoints: Encourage interaction with specific products.
CheckPoints is a mobile application from inMarket that rewards customers for interacting with specific products in-store. Rather than offering discounts when customers scan highlighted items with their smartphones, CheckPoints provides its users with points that can ultimately be redeemed for gift cards, airline miles, Facebook credits, gadgets (like Bose headphones or Apple TV), or donations to charities like the Red Cross. CheckPoints gives businesses and brands a way to reward customers with freebies without necessarily discounting their products. inMarket offers a pay-for-performance pricing model, with partners paying only when consumers pick their products up off the shelves.

5. Shopkick: Offer incentives just for showing up.
Most loyalty programs reward customers with a set number of points based on the amount they spend on in-store transactions. Shopkick has done away with this model, instead rewarding shoppers simply for walking in the door. Transmitters detect when a shopper with the Shopkick app has walked inside a participating retailer, setting off a chain of events that culminates with push notifications and other alerts meant to encourage customers to interact with specific items. In exchange for their participation, shoppers are rewarded with “kicks” that can be redeemed for anything from a Starbucks coffee to Nike sneakers. Retailers pay Shopkick a fee for each “kick” its customers earn, along with a commission when their customers cash in for actual rewards.

6. MOGL: Turn loyalty into a game.
MOGL is a card-linked loyalty platform that incentivizes participation with 10% cash-back offers for each purchase made at participating establishments. These cash-back rewards are made directly to users’ credit cards, which allows customers to spend their rewards anywhere they wish. MOGL also enters the top three spenders at each establishment into a monthly jackpot, where they’re eligible to win prizes upwards of $100. MOGL is aimed primarily at restaurants, and the company says its users spend 78% more than non-users at participating businesses each month. MOGL works on a performance-based model, and doesn’t require that businesses invest in any additional equipment to use its platform.

Know of other platforms that businesses can use to offer rewards without discounting their own products? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.