It’s been exactly four years since we set up our first Belly iPad at a business. It was AlleyCat Comics here in Chicago and what happened next continues to be one of my favorite Belly moments: A woman approached the counter to make her purchase and signed up for Belly. She turned to her friend who was already standing at the door to leave and read aloud AlleyCat’s rewards – “Punch The Staff Member of Your Choice in the Stomach.” The women laughed and the one at the door walked back up to the counter, grabbing a comic book on her way so she could buy it and sign up for Belly, too. In that moment, we were able to help a business demonstrate their unique personality and make a connection to influence customer behavior. I vividly remember thinking, "Maybe we're onto something." What we were onto was fulfilling the vision we continue to pursue today: Making businesses personal.
We’ve always known that running a small business isn’t easy. Businesses of every size are expected to not only maintain their day-to-day but to also plan for the future. Engage with customers on Facebook. Develop email marketing calendars. Launch a mobile app. Entice new customers to come in. But how can they possibly have the time or resources to build world-class tools themselves that keep up with the constantly changing technology and retail landscape? That’s where Belly comes in. Belly consolidates all of these now necessary functions and brings the traditional in-store experience online. We level the playing field so that Merchants can create lasting relationships with their customers, enabling them to focus on the most important part of running their business.
And it’s working. Since 2011, we’ve become the largest digital loyalty program in the United States. Over 11,000 businesses have used Belly to power their loyalty and marketing and 6 million consumers have “Belly’d” over 60 million times to earn points for rewards at the places they love. Pretty remarkable.
This week’s launch of Belly Complete combined with our expanded relationship with Apple validates what we’ve been working on for the past four years.
As a signed partner with Apple, Belly will provide its loyalty and marketing tools to an even wider network of retail businesses. Our integration with the other included technology companies will enable businesses to put the unique capabilities of iPad to work within their organizations quicker and easier. We’re thrilled to work with Apple to change how business gets done.
We’ve always known that loyalty is at the core of building customer relationships. And in talking to our Belly Businesses, it’s become more apparent that Merchants need tools to communicate with their customers to foster those relationships as well. Belly Complete is our cohesive suite of loyalty, email, social media, mobile and customer acquisition tools to further facilitate enhanced customer relationships for our businesses. We know that most Merchants cite lack of time as their biggest digital marketing challenge. With Belly Complete, Belly Businesses can now utilize their loyalty program’s data to connect their online marketing initiatives to their offline customer visits; something only Belly can provide.
As we look ahead, we’re excited to work with Apple to transform how retailers use their iOS devices to drive their businesses forward. Now even more retailers will have the ability to use customer data to inform their marketing initiatives.
Here’s to the next 4 years… and then some,