For customers, the big benefit is ease of use. Unlike most other check-in deal systems, such as Foursquare, Belly does not require a smartphone for its members. Anybody can register on the in-store iPad and then use the loyalty card at any participating location. It’s a small extra that makes the program more broadly accessible.
No matter what medium you use, smartphone or loyalty card, Belly offers a good way of combining many stores’ loyalty programs into one easy system. You can keep a log of your favorite places and track how many points you need to achieve your desired reward. It’s simple and convenient.
Another bonus is that Belly awards points based on the number of visits, not on money spent. Checking in at a sandwich shop just twice can earn you a free drink, even though you might have spent less than $20 at the store. Additionally, the company’s iPad will alert you when you’ve earned a new perk, and you can cash in on perks as many times as you earn them.
Cons for Customers
Belly has been promoting its service as a way to consolidate all of your loyalty and rewards programs under a single umbrella program. In theory, this is an excellent mission, but in practice, the scope is a bit limited. The company is still mostly operating in its home city of Chicago, although it has started rolling out in more cities across the country.
Even if you live in a city with Belly locations, the likelihood that your favorite business is using the system is hit-and-miss. The company is mostly marketing itself to small and mid-sized businesses, so don’t expect to see the Belly iPads at major chains just yet.
For customers who enjoy supporting their favorite local merchants, there’s no reason not to use Belly. Loyalty programs are popular for a reason, especially as more people continue to pinch pennies in an uncertain economy. The idea of streamlining the process with Belly’s universal rewards will probably continue to attract followers.
For the owners of small or medium-sized companies, Belly offers a lot of benefits — like keeping your customers engaged and excited about your products. If you can swing the financial commitment, then this may be a good option for connecting with your customers on a deeper level. Keep in mind that it’s been around for less that a year, so there’s a strong potential for growth, both in members and companies participating.
Do you have any experience with Belly? Let us know in the comments!
As a customer, I don't feel very rewarded for loyalty if I don't get some recognition for the amount I spent. I have a family of 4 and only get 5 points at a restaurant regardless of whether I spent $8 or $80. I was pretty torqued when I finally figured that out. They should add some measure of reward for spend.
Belly Card is a deceitful merchant who offered us very little value. It took 8 months to cancel our contract with them and they continued illegally to attempt to charge our credit card for FOUR MONTHS despite rep assurance that our account was closed. They refused to credit our equipment return also and continue to attempt to bill us for that. I have never had an experience like this in 30 years of business. Stay away from Belly!
So here's my beef. I am a business owner. Belly charges a monthly fee and in return you get emails and likes on Facebook. The deceiving part is when the customer signs up their email addresses goes straight to Belly not to the participating business. The business has to pay attention to every single person that signs because there is a second step with a tiny strip that pops up asking if you want to be a part of the business email list. Essentially the businesses are collecting Belly's emails for them for free and Belly pays nothing for those emails. Does not make sense nor does does it benefit the business. The business also gives away free stuff and pays Belly monthly for the privilege. Not a great plan. We can do that via Twitter and Facebook already