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LOC Enterprises, the developer of the first truly universal loyalty card called the LOC Card, is entering a new partnership that will allow its services to be used with 96 merchants through Living Local.
As a nonprofit organization promoting independent, locally-owned retailers, restaurants, and service businesses in Western Massachusetts and the Connecticut River Valley, Living Local is made up of the owners of these local businesses, who strive to make an impact on the communities in which they live and work. The steering committee’s recent decision to partner with LOC gives these merchants a new and much-needed platform to market and drive customer engagement.
Mary Flahive-Dickson is a Living Local member and owner of Redstone Creamery, an ice cream and frozen yogurt shop in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Flahive-Dickson told Loyalty360 that local businesses like hers will benefit greatly from Living Local’s partnership with LOC.
“Our group is made up of local independent merchants, and many of us don’t have POS systems that can handle loyalty cards,” Flahive-Dickson explained. “This will even out the playing field for us, letting us market to people that we wouldn’t necessarily have been able to market to.”
The LOC Card eliminates the need for consumers to carry multiple loyalty cards to receive merchant rewards and benefits. Instead, LOC Enterprises has developed a single smartphone app/wallet card/key fob that can be used with any merchant loyalty program.
For Living Local merchants specifically, having the LOC card now means that all members will be able to integrate this technology into their marketing initiatives at no cost, providing a platform that might not otherwise be feasible within their marketing budgets. For those members without a viable POS system or loyalty program, LOC fills that need with a digital punch card and provides more exposure to a larger potential customer base. For those members that already have a POS system, the LOC card extends their customer reach.
Flahive-Dickson spoke with Loyalty360 to illuminate the experiences of local and independent businesses struggling to compete against larger corporations, and the advantage that LOC will provide. Flahive-Dickson shared how difficult it is for Redstone Creamery to compete with frozen yogurt shops that are franchises with more money to support marketing and customer engagement efforts.
“They (the larger shops) have a lot of money behind them,” she said. “It is much easier to be able to have the rewards programs they do that can run right through the POS system. They have the ability, the technology, and the pocketbook to market to customers. Not only through their loyalty programs but print, radio, TV, and other advertising.”
Yet, Redstone Creamery provides a unique customer experience, and this is because it is not a chain or franchise business. Flahive-Dickson described Redstone Creamery as “a little general store” providing a place for the community to gather for locally made ice cream and coffee, and engage in activities like book readings, board games, painting classes, or charity events. While a loyalty punch card is offered, everything is word of mouth, and customer loyalty is essential.
Flahive-Dickson said that there was a fundraiser at Redstone Creamery a few weeks ago that would have benefited greatly from the LOC card, which she believes will take her marketing to another level.
“The whole idea of loyalty to me is extremely important – it’s the only thing that keeps me open,” she said. “How great will it be to have my marketing program on steroids with the LOC card?”
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