Merchant Funded Customer Loyalty Solutions

Customers are looking for more loyalty rewards programs from their suppliers, and suppliers derive greater business benefits from customers that are members of their loyalty programs. Loyalty customers drive more business (buy more with you, better Word Of Mouth, etc.) as reflected by the statistics below:

  • Loyalty program penetration among U.S. debit card issuers is already at 20% and rising rapidly (The 2009 Colloquy Loyalty Marketing Census) (1)
  • Customer spending is 46% higher with companies that offer reward card programs, (total Research Corp & Custom Corp's Loyalty Monitor Study) (1)
  • 68% of Word Of Mouth (WOM) champions in reward programs will recommend a program sponsor's brand within a year (1)
  • Non-loyalty members primarily shopped at brick and mortar locations, while only 22 percent of loyalty members shopped in stores
  • Most companies can increase revenues by nearly 50% while retaining only 5% of their customer base (Frederick Reichheid) (1)

Customer Loyalty programs can also come with a hefty price tag and offer differing degrees of customer values from program to program. Very Important Relationship, Inc.'s ('VIR") merchant funded customer loyalty program is one of the most effective customer loyalty rewards program available. It is also one of the most costs efficient in the industry.

Merchant Funded Customer Loyalty Programs

What is a merchant funded customer loyalty program? Normally, a customer loyalty program is funded from profits earned when a customer purchases product or service from the sponsoring company. A portion of those profits are then allocated to a customer's account as an award to attract them to become a more loyal customer. For example, American Airlines, awards Advantage miles based on mileage flown which can then be redeemed for free travel once they accumulates to a certain award level. These miles when redeemed take inventory away from American Airlines that it could have sold and consumes it to provide the award. Thus American Airlines pays for its own award from profits previously earned from the loyal customers past purchases.

VIR's merchant funded loyalty reward program is unique in that it is actually funded by third party merchants, not the sponsoring company offering the customer loyalty reward. This is a relatively new opportunity bought about through the use of the affiliate marketing industry and VIR's innovative technology.

In the affiliate marketing industry, a store that would like to receive more Internet traffic to their website pays a commission to other businesses for referring their customers to the merchant's website. This is normally accomplished through the use of banners ads that contain a code that fires a tracking pixel when the customer is transferred from the referring company's website to the merchant's.

A little over a decade ago, a new evolution of this process appeared in what has since become known as CashBack Rewards shopping malls. A CashBack Rewards mall is a virtual on-line shopping mall that contains links to numerous stores and works similarly to a real shopping mall in the brick and mortar world. When a customer clicks on one of the ad banner links, special code is sent to the merchant that contains not only the CashBack mall operator's ID, but also a sub ID that can later identify which customer made that purchase. The CashBack mall operator then receives the commission from the purchase with that sub ID and can share it with the customer in what is known as CashBack.

CashBack Malls

VIR is one of the nation's premier developers of CashBack Rewards mall technology and as such operates 16 CashBack mall platforms that serve 6 industries. It currently has relationship with over 3,000 of the nation's best known stores and it receives an affiliate commission on every purchase made by anyone VIR refers to a merchant's store located in one of its malls. Through its proprietary CashBack technology, VIR not only receive revenue on each transaction, but also processes that revenue and then share it with the parties related to that transaction in any sharing ratios desired. It is though the unique use of this technology that VIR can now offer a very robust merchant funded customer loyalty rewards program.

The way VIR's Customer Loyalty Rewards program works is that a client who wishes to offer a Customer Loyalty Rewards mall to its customers, receives its own branded version of one of VIR's newest generation CashBack malls, with some custom modifications. One of the modifications is that instead of sending a customer a check for their CashBack earned, these funds can be converted into a currency that must be spent back with the sponsoring client. The currency might be points in an existing customer loyalty rewards program offered by the client, or money placed on account to be used to pay for the client's products or services. In the case of a services company which bills monthly for its services, it can also be used towards the customer's monthly bill to reduce its cost to them.

Since VIR has already tapped into the marketing budgets of over 3,000 national retailers; and since it is receiving and sharing revenue from them each time something is purchased; VIR's relationships and technology now allows it to use these third parties revenues to fund VIR's client's customer loyalty rewards program. This makes VIR merchant funded customer loyalty solution a hard business proposition to beat.

A little over 4 years ago, both American Airlines and American Express launched their own CashBack Rewards malls as a customer loyalty program and tied them it to their current Rewards program. In both cases, instead of paying CashBack to the customer, they took the CashBack due and converted it to miles (in the case of American Airlines) or points (in the case of American Express). Shortly thereafter, the other major airless (United, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and Hawaiian Air) followed site as did the top tier national banks (Chase, Bank of America, Citi, and MasterCard).

While this establishes a strong precedent for the use of this concept, due to the newness of it, there are still less than a couple dozen companies using similar programs in the marketplace. This means merchant funded customer loyalty programs are a proven concept, but still fresh enough to be seen as very compelling by VIR's clients' customers.

Since VIR is a technology company that develops CashBack mall technology, it focus has remains intently on enhancing its technology. This has resulted in VIR now offers a platform that is unrivaled in the industry.

VIR's entire system is 100% database and API driven. This means the engines which create each web page in a particular shopping platform are fully programmable. This technology provides VIR the ability to custom design each portal, with the ability to add or omit any merchant or category from its malls at any time; as obviously, a company would not want to see its competitors in its own shopping mall.

VIR's system has been designed to be completely frictionless. Its new 3rd generation CashBack malls ("v3") have also been designed to greatly increase customer interaction, which results in increased use and retention. The new v3 platform is achieving Bounce Rates of less than 10%, which is also unrivaled in the industry.

Multiple Integration System Technology - VIR Latest Technology

Continual enhancements to the unique software architecture used to create VIR's v3 platform, now allows VIR to integrate different web based platforms (i.e., different websites, account access, product presentations, services delivery, etc.), all under one roof; creating a unified, seamless experience for the end user. VIR calls this its Multiple Integration System Technology ("MIST").

MIST architecture allows the integration of multiple websites, web services, different secured online systems and social communities, etc., ("multiple web based platforms"), all under one roof, creating a unified, seamless experience for the end user. The MIST system has been architected from the ground up to be software agnostic and can operate with multiple operation system, languages, UIs, etc. It is fully scalable both vertically and horizontally and is based on VIR's proprietary distributive computing model.

MIST can now allow VIR's client's to integrate custom features with multiple web based applications into a single, independent platform based on VIR's client's needs. MIST is an overlay platform that can integrate the parent website with multiple web based platforms, both secured and unsecured, and pass information from all to a single user in a seamless experience. This means a parent website can showcase VIR's client's own products or services; the products and service of other companies which the client may represent; independent external websites of interest to the end user; etc. It can also be used as an independent delivery mechanism for various products and services from various sources, track sales and share revenues; etc. The possibilities are endless.

MIST allows different user experiences for each individual end user based on controls automatically created in that end user's personal profile at time of their registration for the platform. This means the same website can be used by multiple companies with each company controlling the content their end user see and to which they have access. The level of control can even go down as far as to how the site is branded when the end user arrives.

Imagine a single website that can allow your company to offer to it employees, customers and other business clients, a personal web portal they access under a single sign-in to gain instant access to:

  1. their own personalized CashBack mall, social communities, personalized home page, game room, personal content, etc.;
  2. their own personal on-line bank accounts;
  3. corporate employee payroll accounts by each employee, and also other independent benefits programs offered by the company; and
  4. learn about and enroll for the services of other vendors that the company wishes to offer to its employees and/or companies."

VIR MIST platform can also be developed to allow a client the ability to additionally offer its corporate clients their own branded version of this platform, to offer to its employees and/or customers. This functionality can include allowing each of the company's selected corporate clients to have independent control over to what their end user's have access and are allowed to see and do once logged into their personal portal.

The system can even be designed to include an infinite numbers of ways to break up and share revenue with a company's (or its client's) independent sales forces. This means everything on the site that produces any form of revenue can then be tracked with commissions shared in infinite configurations of payouts; to different groups of sales people; all operating under the same platform.

MIST affords VIR's clients the ability to have a B2C, B2B, and B2B2C platform all operating under a single umbrella. Since VIR is a technology company, it can develop new functionalities its clients desire that do not currently exist to integrate or enhance a company's offerings.

VIR's programming team is also available to create custom programming for its customers outside of custom mall development. The cost of a custom designed mall or other custom programming is dependent on the required functionality, design and custom programming required.

In Summary

VIR's new merchant funded customer loyalty CashBack Rewards Mall platform can be used either as a standalone customer loyalty program or integrated with an existing customer loyalty program to enhance its effectiveness. When used to enhance an existing program, it significantly increases the customer's affinity with that program and also magnifies the customers brand awareness as they regularly visit the mall to shop and save money.

VIR's Customer Loyalty Rewards malls tap into the marketing budgets of over 3,000 merchants and utilize those revenues to pay the rewards due to a customer for their loyalty. This greatly reduces the programs costs and makes it one of the most cost effective customer loyalty programs available.

VIR's MIST technology allows it to create very sophisticated and custom applications that can meet the most demanding client's needs. Based on its architecture, MIST also allows for a rapid development cycle and full deployment of a customized and integrated platform within a few days to a few weeks, instead of several months to a year. MIST development turnaround time for custom applications is about 20% of traditional development time using tradition platform development.

For more information, please contact:

Jody Tallal
972 -726-9595, Ext. 229