Hacienda is introducing Deals & Rewards to park occupants in partnership with Riiwards.com. The Riiwards platform is an online deal and customer loyalty program designed to help businesses grow profitably by offering deals and rewards to locals.
Online deal sites are all the rage, but they have several drawbacks, notes Riiwards.com founder and CEO Reena Jadhav, who is also the founder of the nuAlerts communications platform. According to Jadhav, local merchants typically operate on narrow margins in their effort to be price-competitive with their larger counterparts. They often lack the financial leeway to offer the crowd-pleasing deep discounts that make deal purchases so hard to pass up.
With that in mind, Jadhav refashioned this latest marketing wave into a format that is much more appropriate-and beneficial-for local communities. The major difference between Riiwards.com and the larger operations that have stepped into deal territory is the degree of control her program offers participants and integration with ongoing rewards to drive customer loyalty.
"On the deal sites, merchants don't have as much control over all the parameters," she observes. "Riiwards gives merchants control over the discount to be offered, number of deals to be sold, expiration date, etc., resulting in higher margins. In fact, merchants can offer deals quarterly to create a consistent cash flow from deal sales."
The point is to attract customers without sacrificing a stable bottom line, Jadhav emphasizes. "Traffic doesn't always translate into profitably. We aim for sustainable and consistent revenue growth, instead of giving revenues away."
The platform approach is another key differentiator. Unlike the companies in the deal business themselves, which directly connect merchants and shoppers, Riiwards.com is a platform for communities such as Hacienda, downtown associations, and chambers of commerce, where there is a built-in buyer base for merchants. That empowerment provides the flexibility to allow deals to be targeted at and customized to the local audience.
It also eases the heavy lifting. "We do all the set up, post the deals, work with merchants, and distribute funds," Jadhav says. "The communities take on the responsibility of communicating the program to their members."
A very affordable customer loyalty program is the other piece of the new site's business-building strategy. Based on the premise that the more often customers patronize a business, the more they will get in return, the program enables merchants to craft a variety of offerings - a discount on the first purchase, a graduated discount that gets higher with successive visits, customer birthday specials. Riiwards.com keeps tracks of all the transactions and criteria electronically. "There is nothing to download, no cards to carry. It's all driven by email," Jadhav explains.
The company conducted a pilot program for six months with nuAlerts merchants who wanted a customer loyalty program to grow sales. "We found out that what they needed to do was bring current customers back more often. Our program had a really measurable impact to the top and bottom line."
The Riiwards.com benefits are making a timely debut. "There are many retail businesses in Hacienda, and there will be lot of spending over the next few months," Jadhav points out. "We want to help make sure many of those dollars will be kept by local merchants."
Read about the successful pilot and get more information at www.riiwards.com .
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