FiveStars, a Mountainview, Calif.-based provider of a loyalty automation platform for small and medium businesses, today unveiled its combined loyalty and gift card program, launched in conjunction with its first customer for the product, Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries, a 100-store quick-service restaurant chain based in Mt. Airy, N.C.
“We didn’t want to have one gift card program and a separate loyalty program and something else with Facebook; we already wear so many hats,” Neal Dennis, chief operating officer of Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries told Loyalty 360. “We wanted a sophisticated but affordable loyalty program across all of our locations, but we wanted a solution that could also function as a gift card.”
The restaurant chain, which features a background of old-time rock n’ roll music and ‘50s diner décor, initially partnered with FiveStars on a gift card program in December and generated over $50,000 in gift card revenue from 3,000 customers since then.
Expanding the offering to include a loyalty program (customers will still have the option to simply purchase prepaid gift cards without participating in the loyalty program) “gives us another way to reach out to our customers. We’re hoping it will drive our customers to an extra visit or two per week. It’s a wonderful value-add for them. There’s no effort to it for them. They simply have to provide us with their phone number and they are enrolled,” commented Neal Dennis.
Loyalty program members earn points that can be redeemed any time they dine, according to Dennis.
“We observed what Starbucks was able to do with their combined loyalty and gift card,” said Chris Luo, FiveStars vice president of marketing. In its most recent earnings report, Starbucks said it added $1 billion on to loyalty and gift cards in the fourth quarter of 2012, and attributed 27 percent of the company’s revenue to its loyalty/gift card program.
FiveStars loyalty automation platform integrates with merchants’ point-of-sale (POS) systems, enabling businesses to improve their customer service and reward customers based on actual spend, Luo said. The platform enables merchants to measure customer spending and reward them accordingly. The FiveStars platform also enables businesses to use data on spend or visits to proactively target customers with personalized and relevant email and text message campaigns to drive repeat visits and customer referrals.
“It’s a win-win for everyone,” Luo added. “The merchant gets the money for the gift cards up front and has the chance to turn people into loyal customers. Gift cards represent a $100 billion market and loyalty is a rapidly growing market. Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries is a great partner to develop this with.”
FiveStars will look to further expand the concept with other small and medium-sized businesses, Luo said.