Having signed 1,500 merchants since its regional launch in April 2012, SpotOn, a new digital loyalty network for local merchants, officially launched in August with the infusion of $5 million by its three founders: Matt and Zach Hyman (the twin brothers who co-founded and today manage Central Payment Co. LLC) and Doron Friedman, the founder of payment card marketing company Arroweye Solutions. "Local merchants are waking up to the fact that deepening their relationships with existing customers is more cost-effective than recruiting new ones through group buying deals, ads or paper coupons," stated Zach Hyman, co-Chief Executive Officer of SpotOn. "Yet many business owners don't have the time or know-how when it comes to connecting with their customers using social, mobile and email marketing."
To help merchants build custom loyalty locally through available digital channels, SpotOn developed a program that doesn't require the merchant to link to a specific credit or debit card or one of the major coupon networks, which can create hurdles for customers, the company stated. Instead, SpotOn installs a digital tablet at merchant locations, where customers can check in at checkout via the SpotOn card or mobile app to start earning rewards and incentives, referred to as "Spots."
"Our tablet-based approach provides at-a-glance customer profiles, making it really easy to run targeted campaigns," Zach Hyman said. SpotOn charges merchants a monthly fee for its customer-facing tablet and access to sophisticated online dashboard reporting and functions. The dashboard provides a complete view of the merchant's entire customer database, including typical spend, redemption activity on deals and Facebook activity, the company said.
Armed with customer spending data, merchants can conduct targeted advertising and marketing campaigns to reach key customers and attract new ones, the company noted. Core to the system is HotSpot, the software that enables merchants to target who they reward. It also aggregates Facebook posts and Twitter mentions into one central feed. Merchants can create unique offers, which can be sent out immediately or placed on a calendar for scheduled delivery via mobile notification and social media. Later, merchants can review the number of redemptions received with each offer.
SpotOn reported it is boarding approximately 500 merchants monthly, from mom-and-pop locations to midsize retail chains. To further accelerate growth, the company invites agents to join its national reseller network. SpotOn also plans to offer training to Central Payment agents interested in reselling the digital loyalty program to merchants nationwide.
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