The Green Sheet Online Edition
April 28, 2008 • Issue 08:04:02
Customer stickiness with a single swipe
Customer retention sounds like something a doctor might diagnose. Although it's not a medical condition, merchants are acutely aware of the pain inflicted on their businesses when they can't retain their customers.
Loyalty programs are a way merchants have of promoting customer stickiness by giving patrons discounts for frequenting their businesses. But, often, consumers are required to carry around an extra piece of plastic - a rewards card - for purchases at each store.
Chockstone Inc., a loyalty marketing and gift card program administrator for restaurants and convenience stores, reports that it has eliminated that hassle with SingleSwipe, a new identification program that allows credit and debit card transactions to be tied to a rewards program of a particular business.
Any network branded card in consumers' wallets - American Express Co., Discover Finan- cial Services, MasterCard Worldwide, Visa Inc. - will work with SingleSwipe, according to Chockstone, thereby eliminating the need for businesses to issue separate rewards cards to their customers.
At the POS or online, cardholders register whatever credit or debit cards they want to use for payment and loyalty transactions.
When a card is swiped or otherwise employed at the POS, whatever savings or promotional offers the business wants to give loyal patrons is added to that transaction, in real time. No extra card is needed.
According to Chockstone, SingleSwipe can increase business' bottom lines while improving the all-important customer-merchant relationship.
No longer do cashiers have to ask customers if they have rewards cards. And customers no longer have to search their wallets and purses for that elusive extra piece of plastic.
It looks like a win-win all around: increased foot traffic at the business and speed through the POS; it's simple, easy and convenient to use for customers.
What is more, merchants can track customer purchase history and preferences using SingleSwipe. With that information, Chockstone can tailor promotional offers on receipts to that individual customer.
For example, a customer frequents a particular coffee shop. That customer often purchases a raisin cookie with a latte.
So, at the next purchase, the receipt is printed with an offer that if the patron comes back to the coffee shop next week, he or she gets a free cookie.
Jeff Lipp, Chief Executive Officer at Chockstone, said in an economy of increasingly tight margins, and with merchants fighting for every last customer, that degree of product customization can make SingleSwipe the "ultimate tie breaker" in retaining customers or getting them to switch from the competition.
According to Lipp, Portland, Ore.-based Chockstone has reseller agreements with three of the five top merchant acquirers, and the company's network and platform are both in compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.
Forty-six thousand merchant locations nationwide use Chockstone to implement and manage their electronic loyalty and rewards programs.
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