Loyalty is the name of the game in today's retail world, and Tecmark Inc. is a gift and loyalty provider that prides itself on ease of integration, convenience of customer sign-ups and range of promotional options. Tecmark's flagship product, Simpli, integrates reward programs with a full suite of promotional communications – including email, texting and social media.
"It makes it easy for merchants to offer a full rewards program, to decide what types of promotions they want to offer and to implement those promotions across a variety of marketing channels," said Cathy Harms, Vice President of Marketing for Tecmark. "It's all integrated. So a lot of merchants will have one list for email, and a different provider for text. This is all one program that stores everything in a single database."
To register for Simpli, customers provide a name and preferred channel for receiving promotional communications – typically either an email address or phone number. Harms said customers can also receive promotions by traditional mail, though few do. Customers registered with Simpli identify themselves at the POS by either swiping a driver's license or by entering a phone number.
"For us, engagement starts with the sign-up," said Tecmark Chief Executive Officer Brett Harms, who added that most loyalty programs require customers to fill out a much longer form that includes home address and other information that can be superfluous. "If it takes too long, there's a risk of attrition."
The program works in real time, so merchants and customers are notified of developments as they happen. For instance, a customer who earns a free ice cream by having purchased a certain number of ice creams already will receive a text or email notification as soon as the threshold purchase is made, according to Cathy Harms. Conversely, merchants see when rewards are redeemed in real time as well, and this is a built-in protection against fraud. If a customer redeems any loyalty offering, the system will automatically show that redemption and prevent the customer from redeeming it again, Cathy Harms said.
Simpli can be integrated into a merchant's existing POS terminal through a software download or added to the POS system as a separate, stand-alone module. Merchants can also download Simpli to an iPad or Android tablet, according to Brett Harms. "We want to give them as many options as we can, so they don't necessarily have to go purchase new [hardware]," he said. Cathy Harms said Simpli has four basic "autopilot marketing" standbys: messages sent to customers when they sign up, promotions sent on birthdays, messages sent to customers who have rewards waiting, and promotions or messages to customers who haven't been in the store for a certain period of time. For example, loyalty customers who haven't returned to a convenience store in six months could receive a message offering them a free soda.
Merchants can configure Simpli to add any number of other loyalty promotions, and can easily track what promotions have gone out to whom, Cathy Harms added. "They can do as many different promotions as they want on their own," she said. "It can be for a grand opening, for new products. … They use the same process, they design the emails, they choose their audience based on the whole database and they send it out."
Cathy Harms noted that every email contains links to Twitter and Facebook, allowing recipients to easily notify friends of special offers by posting them on social media pages. Brett Harms said Simpli is sold entirely through ISOs, and Tecmark's clients range from small, single-location merchants to companies with hundreds of locations.
"Our largest client's a public company," he said. "They do audits, and they know [Simpli] drives bottom line profitability, and they love and support it. We try to build marketing solutions that go beyond basic loyalty, and I think our merchants understand and appreciate that."
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