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!