ChasePay Plays ‘Catch Up’ With LevelUp Investment

Banks and credit card companies are hoping that mobile payments help them build a deeper relationship with millenials and stave off disrupters such as Apple, PayPal, Samsung and Google. They definitely bring volume to the industry – Chase says that one million of its 24 million mobile customers have adopted ChasePay. But they generally haven’t […]

Yelp Extends its SMB Features, Adding Empyr’s Cash Back Loyalty Program

Yelp has made great strides in extending beyond reviews with reservations, food delivery, requests for quotes and other services. It will now add Yelp Cash Back via a new deal with Empyr, an online-to-offline marketing platform (full disclosure: I’ve had a relationship with Empyr). Cash Back is starting out with 8,000 restaurants and retail merchants. […]

After Lull, New Investment Dollars for Loyalty

In the card-linking space, some industry leaders are shying away from describing themselves as “customer loyalty” – they want to focus more on “new revenue.” But Thanx, a four-year-old, pure-breed customer loyalty solution for national-local retailers has just secured a massive $17.1 million “B” round led by Icon Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Javelin Venture Partners. […]

Belly Seeks Next Steps for Loyalty Marketing; CEO Logan LaHive Steps Down

Belly founder Logan LaHive is stepping down, signifying a new orientation for the company that focuses less on SMBs, which are tough to scale, towards analytics for national-to- local retail (like 7-Eleven, an investor.) CFO Dan Gloede is taking over the top spot. LaHive’s step-down tells a lot about the challenges of scaling SMB sales […]

From The Crypt: LivingSocial’s Lessons For ‘The Experience Economy’

Deal-a-day pioneer LivingSocial is being sold to Groupon for a “non material” price. LivingSocial’s eventual failure had been widely anticipated. Amazon, its largest backer, had written off its $175 Million investment in 2013. The company, once valued at more than $2 billion, had suffered hundreds of millions of dollars of losses due to the high […]

ZenReach’s Big Bet on SMB WiFi Access

Online to Offline (O2O) marketing hasn’t grown as quickly as expected, in part, because registering for it is too hard. Now, former eBayLocal head Jack Abraham is introducing ZenReach, a simpler O2O service with minimal “friction.” ZenReach is based on plain vanilla WiFi access that a network of SMBs will provide to consumers in exchange […]

Are Loyalty Programs Getting Lost in the Shuffle?

A wide range of innovative loyalty programs are in the marketplace, and they report impressive ROI and user engagement. But are they a high priority for retailers? Many retailers (and their agencies) have been slow to commit to loyalty programs. At ShopTalk in Las Vegas May 16-18, loyalty programs seemed to have gotten lost in […]