Originally launched in 2009 as a social network, Swipely is now an online service used to market local businesses and process credit card payments. Businesses that participate have access to customer analytics, direct marketing messaging and promotional material; consumers who join Swipely can link their debit or credit cards to the system and earn points when they use those cards at participating establishments.
Swipely was founded in 2009 and officially launched in May 2010. At that time, it was a social shopping service that allowed users to store purchase information and share it with other users. Critics of the original program focused primarily on security concerns because of its friction-less sharing of purchase data, and this criticism prompted Swipely to change its focus.
In 2011, Swipely shifted its business model and became a credit-card based loyalty service, which launched in Rhode Island in February. Swipely expanded its service to Boston with 150 local merchants in December of that year. Founder and CEO Angus Davis asserted after Swipely's first incarnation that consumers simply do not want to share their purchase information; thus, the current Swipely service is completely private.
Swipely offers four major feature sets to participating merchants: payment processing, analytics, marketing and loyalty.
The Swipely payments service replaces a business' existing credit card processing system with an Internet-based service. This switch is entirely software-based; at the cash register, Swipely works with standard credit card equipment, and cashiers slide cards as they previously would. Swipely has promised to match or better the current fees merchants pay to accept credit card payments.
In addition to processing payments, Swipely tracks transactions made at participating businesses and makes this data available to the merchant. Businesses can profile customers based on their spending data, using information on how many times they have visited the store, how much has been spent during each visit and more. Managers also have access to heat-map hourly updates on business performance. The system has been compared to Google Analytics.
Participating businesses can send direct messages to their customers and organize marketing campaigns using Swipely's mobile, social media and in-store marketing tools. The service also includes a Member Advisor team designed to help merchants take advantage of those tools.
Swipely offers merchants several ways to communicate directly with customers based on their spending behavior. Managers can send "thank you" emails to consumers immediately after purchases or "we miss you" messages to customers who have not made a purchase in some time. In addition to its base points system that gives consumers automatic discounts when they spend certain amounts of money, Swipely allows managers to offer loyalty programs using customers' existing credit and debit cards.
Consumers who want to take advantage of Swipely can create accounts, link their existing credit or debit cards to those accounts and receive points automatically when they shop at participating businesses. All major credit cards, including American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa, can be linked to Swipely accounts. Users can also visit Swipely's website to review their purchase histories and view deal-related social media updates. Swipely does not currently charge consumers for participating in the program.
http://www.firstround.com/company/swipely http://mashable.com/2011/02/28/swipely-new-direction/ http://mashable.com/2012/03/26/swipely-main-street-marketing-manager/ https://swipely.com/ http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2012/12/18/ceo-angus-davis-ramps-up-swipely-takes-on-payment-and-marketing-industries/