Fast-Growing Mobile Loyalty Platform Belly Goes Enterprise

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Chicago-based loyalty platform Belly is expanding into the enterprise with a rebuilt platform designed for corporate and multi-store businesses. The company, which began by focusing on the small-to-medium sized merchant, is now working with more than 100 enterprise-level accounts with more than 600 locations, says co-founder and CEO Logan LaHive, noting this now represents 10 percent of Belly’s total network, as well as its fastest-growing channel to date.

One of these enterprise chains is a large, well-known convenience store brand, but Belly is not permitted to disclose that company by name, we were told. However, a promotional email recently sent to the Chicago Belly customer base basically gave it away:

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The email was touting a contest that would allow Belly users a chance to win free Slurpees for a year at area 7-Eleven stores. Specifically, the email said that “…you can now Belly at all 7-Eleven Chicago locations.” 7-Eleven is also live on the Belly website here. A search on Belly’s location finder also shows 7-Eleven as supporting Belly in a few Massachusetts locations outside of Chicago too, including Boston.

The site reveals a few other big-name brands apparently running similar trials, including The UPS Store, Buffalo Wild Wings, Bosch Automotive, and Dairy Queen, to name a few. It’s unclear for now to what extent these represent pilot programs versus some deeper commitment with the loyalty platform, but the company says the potential reach of its enterprise accounts includes nearly 200,000 locations.

Though Belly can’t really talk about its enterprise customers by name, LaHive says that the company’s entry into this space initially began with inquiries from franchise owners in markets where Belly had traction. Today, that includes around 15 key regions across the U.S., such as San Francisco, New York, Boston, Chicago, Austin, Milwaukee, Madison, Washington D.C., Miami, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Denver, Boulder, and others. L.A. and Atlanta are also two new, and rapidly growing additions.

Belly, for those unfamiliar, allows users to check-in to a location using a physical loyalty card or app that is scanned at point-of-sale. Like a digital punchcard, customers collect points that can later be redeemed for rewards offered by the business. In January, the company also rolled out “Belly Bites,” a customer acquisition platform that targets new customers based on demographics, shopping patterns, historical interactions on Belly, and more. The Bites program currently has around 200 live campaigns from Belly merchants.

Combined, Belly now serves more than 5,000 locations across 46 U.S. states, and has more than 1 million members (consumers) who have checked in at stores over 9 million times.

When the company began to generate interest from larger businesses, LaHive said the team had to take a step back and look at their platform to see if it was enterprise-friendly. “Six months ago, that answer was probably ‘no,’” he admits. “We started looking at our tools, our data, and the infrastructure we were providing, and we really rebuilt the platform from the ground up.”

The new platform is designed to meet the needs of the multi-store environment, with tools to manage, customize, and be able to better understand their ongoing programs, as well as improved data and analytics. One component of this is the Belly Command Center, launched in March. This allows businesses to view analytics right from their iPad in the store, as well as order marketing materials, contact Belly support, and more from the tablet’s interface.

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On the backend, Belly lets its customers set up marketing campaigns and then analyze performance across an entire chain of stores. Enterprise clients want to understand customer behavior across all stores where customers are shopping, explains LaHive, but also what the activity levels are like outside of that chain, in order to learn other things like where customers are shopping outside of that chain, for instance.

In addition, Belly can now help enterprise businesses with their own in-house programs, LaHive says. “They have their own local strategy. They have their own digital initiatives they’re trying to drive, and teams working towards that. One of the interesting things about Belly is that we’re going beyond being just a loyalty platform,” he explains. “We’re a way to help bring the traditional experience of being in-store more online.”

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On this front, LaHive notes that the bigger customers can push their own agendas using Belly, like prompting customers to like the brand on Facebook, for example, target loyal customers for reviews, push Apple PassBook participation, and more.

As Belly expands with support for the larger businesses, the upgrades trickle down to other Belly merchants too, who all now have access to the revamped platform. There’s no specific enterprise-level tier, either – companies can choose from packages that range from $79 per month to $99 or $149 monthly, depending on their needs. Enterprise, of course, tends to fall on the high end of that spectrum.

Belly currently has close to $13 million in total funding from Andreessen HorowitzLightbank, and others. LaHive says the company is not actively fundraising at this time.