Customer rewards programs are “prohibitively expensive” for small businesses, said Fiona Lake Waslander, general manager of a new loyalty platform, Vicinity. The platform, launched this Wednesday, “provides local retail businesses across Canada with the opportunity to execute customized loyalty programs that recognize, reward and communicate with customers to drive repeat business,” according to a statement.
Rogers Communications Inc. launched the platform to help SMEs boost traffic and customer engagement with their own customizable loyalty programs. It can help reward consumers for shopping locally without forcing them to carry a wallet full of various loyalty cards, as all participating businesses become part of one network.
Consumers can register for a loyalty card at any of the businesses involved. The program will integrate with retail businesses’ point-of-sale systems to compile cloud-based customer databases, generate automated targeted offers and customer messages and access professional reporting tools to track offers, points accumulation and ROI.
Vicinity’s clients currently include coffee shops, recreational facilities, tanning salons and independently owned pubs. (As of Wednesday, Vicinity is available to businesses in Toronto. It will become available across Canada in the coming months.)
“[Businesses] can choose the rewards that they give away,” said Waslander, who added that the platform only offers rewards to consumers from businesses they’ve previously shopped at.
“Small businesses across Canada are looking for cost effective, turn-key solutions to drive growth in their business and establish meaningful customer relationships,” said the statement from Rogers (which also owns PROFIT). “Vicinity integrates easily into businesses, providing a simple platform to drive return traffic and increase customer lifetime value while encouraging residents to support local businesses.”
The platform was developed by American company FiveStars, with whom Rogers has an exclusive agreement which allows Rogers to use FiveStars technology under the Rogers banner.
—with files from Carly Lewis, Marketing Magazine