Community Wins With Small Business Loyalty Card

Small businesses, particularly retailers, are always under immense pressure from the likes of Tesco, Walmart, PC World, you name them.  So how do they fight back, other than offering outstanding service …

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19th December 2006 at 2:15 pm

Small businesses, particularly retailers, are always under immense pressure from the likes of Tesco, Walmart, PC World, you name them.  So how do they fight back, other than offering outstanding service and quality? 

Inc.com runs a fascinating story about a new loyalty card scheme in Boston, the Interra Project, aimed specifically at the SME sector as a means of tracking and encouraging local spending.

Every time customers use the card, a percentage of their transactions is returned to them as a cash rebate, a percentage is donated to a community-based non-profit of their choice, and a percentage is fed back into the program.

The combination of hyper-local focus, the business benefits of aggregation and the importance of giving back to the community, makes this loyalty card scheme feel like a social enterprise. 

I’d like to know, however, how the aggregated data will be used to benefit small businesses locally.  Perhaps something I can ask if I can persuade Greg Steltenpohl, Interra’s chairman, to come and talk about the project on SmallBziPod.

Could one of the small business groups in the UK like the Federation of Small Businesses be involved in developing such a scheme?  I think there’s a business opportunity here in the UK for such a service.

 

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Alex is the founder and editor of SmallBizPod, the UK's first podcast dedicated to small business, start-ups and entrepreneurship. Alex writes about topical small business issues, entrepreneurs and anything else that catches his eye here on the small business blog. http://www.smallbizpod.co.uk

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  1. hemant Jain says:

    Being a manufacturer of Loyalty cards in India and having been associated with several loyalty programmes in the country I can say that with a fair degree of certainty.
    – firms are stingy with benefits
    -most companies do not want benefits to be realised
    – the number of people who actually gain from their points is a very small fraction of the card base.
    – hotels,airlines are the most comitted to their programmes and actually offer decent benefits that make it worth the while to the user
    -Smaller companies lack the seriousness and resources that are needed for a good programme.

  2. Interesting perspective Hemant. If small businesses are aggregated then I think the benefits of a loyalty card can add up and work. Agreed though that customers often don’t make best use of them and there are also some privacy issues around such schemes.

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