A comparison between Belly and RewardMe – by the stats

RewardMe vs Belly Data driven comparison by the numbers A comparison between Belly and RewardMe   by the stats

Andreeson Horowitz recently invested $10 million into loyalty startup Belly.  I’d like to start off by congratulating the Belly team on their Series B – we wish you good luck in reaching Groupon-like scale.

This recent news warrants a fair and honest comparison between Belly and RewardMe.  We welcome the founders of Belly to write their responses in the comments section at the end of this post to continue the discussion.

Comparison snapshot: this post will compare Belly and RewardMe in the following 6 important customer loyalty program topics

  1. Customer sign-up rate: how many new customers sign-up to the program
  2. Participation rate: the number of check-ins to the rewards program
  3. Return on investment: measurable ROI that is backed by data
  4. Reward structure and customization: the ability for the business to customize rewards
  5. Data capture: the type of data that is collected from consumers
  6. Ease of use: ease of use for the business and the consumers

Customer Sign-up Rate

Belly

According to the article by CNET, Belly has achieved the following numbers:

Note: date range of August 2011 – April 2012 (270 days)

  1. 1,400 locations
  2. 200,000 users

Lets analyze the data to get numbers that are useful to a merchant:

Users per location: on average, there are 143 users per location

New users per day: on average, 741 new users sign up per day

New users per location per day: on average, there are .53 new users per location per day

RewardMe

For the comparison, we will use the numbers generated from our fast casual restaurant client located in Texas with 16 locations:

Note: date range from December 2011 – April 2012 (150 days)

  1. Franchise with 16 locations using RewardMe
  2. 39,008 users

Lets do the same analysis that we did for Belly above:

Users per location: on average, we have 2,438 users per location

New users per day: on average, 260 new users sign up per day

New users per location per day: on average, we have 16.25 new users per location per day

Conclusion

RewardMe has 31x the customer sign-up rate as Belly: 16.25 new users per location per day vs .53 new users per location per day

Participation Rate

Belly

According to the article by Tech Crunch, Belly has achieved the following numbers:

Note: date range of August 2011 – April 2012 (270 days)

  1. 200,000 users
  2. 800,000 check-ins
Check-ins per day: on average, there are 2,963 check-ins per day
Check-ins per location per day: on average, there are 2.12 check-ins per location per day

RewardMe

For the comparison, we will again use the numbers generated from our fast casual restaurant client located in Texas with 16 locations:

Note: date range from December 2011 – April 2012 (150 days)

  1. 39,008 users
  2. 81,410 check-ins

Check-ins per day: on average, we have 543 check-ins per day

Check-ins per location per day: on average, we have 33.92 check-ins per location per day

Conclusion

RewardMe has 16x the customer check-in rate as Belly: 33.92 check-ins per day vs 2.12 checkins per day

Return on Investment

Belly

Unfortunately the CNET article did not mention anything about ROI for Belly merchants.  I encourage the Belly team to post their ROI numbers as a follow up to this post for a fair comparison.

RewardMe

The following numbers are for our fast casual franchise client.

  1. Participation rate: 20.2% of all customers use RewardMe
  2. We capture the RIGHT customers: RewardMe members spend 24.8% more than non-RewardMe members
    • Note: this population selection effect should not be confused with revenue lift, which is detailed below
  3. Revenue lift for RewardMe members: a revenue lift of 5.7% is directly attributed to gamification (lift % is a statistically sound calculation independent of the effects of population selection and random environmental factors)

Most importantly, a recent case study of a client revealed that because RewardMe captures 20.2% of customers, RewardMe has generated a 2% bottom-line revenue increase for our client over a 7-month period.

Conclusion

If a rewards program cannot prove a statistically sound measurement for ROI, then there is no proof that the rewards program benefits its clients.  We’d like to see Belly demonstrate measurable ROI for its clients.

Reward Structure and Customization

Belly

Belly rewards points based on visits.

RewardMe

RewardMe rewards points based on dollars spent or visits

Conclusion

A merchant can use RewardMe to fully customize their rewards program and ensure that their best customers get the best rewards.  For example, a customer that buys a soft drink can receive 10 points, while a customer that buys an entire burger meal can receive 100 points.

On the other hand, merchants are severely limited with Belly.  A customer that buys a soft drink will receive as many points as a customer that buys an entire burger meal.

Because Belly is limited to a visit-based rewards program, RewardMe has a far superior, more customizable rewards program.

Data Capture

Belly

Belly does not capture point of sale data; therefore, Belly does not know how much money was spent or what was purchased.

Belly does capture the following data points via their mobile application:

  1. Email

RewardMe

RewardMe has a patent-pending technology that allows us to capture important point of sale data:

  1. Dollars spent
  2. Items purchased
  3. Timestamp

The unique identifier for a customer is their mobile number.  A customer can choose to opt-into the merchant’s text club at sign-up.

RewardMe always captures mobile number, and captures email through a follow up text.

Conclusion

A merchant can use RewardMe for deep, BIG DATA analysis of customer purchase patterns and behaviors.  Merchants of all sizes, from the mom and pop shop on the corner to the largest restaurants and retailers, can capture, analyze and develop actionable, targeted marketing based on information including but not limited to:

  • Customer specific data
  • Which customers have spent more than $100 in the past 30 days
  • Which customers make purchases on weekdays vs weekends
  • Which customers love burgers vs salads
  • Demographic data
    • Average age of customers
    • Average income level of customers
    • Location distribution of customers
  • Targeting data
    • Which customers buy salads but not pizza
    • Which customers haven’t returned in the past 30 days
    RewardMe can utilize the full power of big data: using RewardMe, merchants can send a customized message only to customers that have purchased a salad and NOT a burger in the past 30 days.  Or, merchants can send a customized message only to customers that shop on the weekdays AND have bought a slice of pizza in the past 7 days.
    On the other hand, a merchant knows extremely little about their customers when they use Belly.  The only information that a merchant has about a customer is when and how often the customer comes in.
    They do collect the email address of every customer that signs up, but because belly has an extremely low sign-up rate, the merchant ultimately captures very few customer email addresses.

    Ease of use

    Belly

    Check out the video case study for a yogurt shop

    Process for tech-savvy customers:

    1. Download Belly App
    2. Open Belly App on phone
    3. Scan code on the iPad 2

    Process for non-tech-savvy customers:

    1. Grab a Belly card
    2. Sign up card online
    3. Remember to bring the card with you every where that you go
    4. Scan card on the iPad 2 screen

    Process for merchants:

    1. Promote Belly to its customers
    2. Call Belly when they run out of Belly Cards to replenish cards

    RewardMe

    Check out our video case study for a yogurt shop

    Process for ALL customers:

    1. Punch in mobile number on the iPad screen

    Process for merchants:

    1. Promote their own branded rewards program (watch how in the video, Fraiche promotes the Fraiche Rewards Program and not RewardMe)

    Conclusion

    RewardMe is easy for ALL customers to use – no phone, no mobile apps to download, no QR codes to scan.  Every customer is accustomed to punching in their mobile number at the grocery store during checkout.  Because they’re already accustomed to this behavior, it’s extremely easy for every customer to sign up to RewardMe.  This is why we have 20.2% sign-up conversion rate for customers.

    Belly on the other hand is cumbersome to use.  Customers must download a mobile app in the store (often while in line), open the app, and scan it on the iPad 2.  If the customer isn’t tech savvy, then they have to carry around another loyalty card, which completely defeats the purpose of using technology to eliminate the need to carry around a loyalty card.

    The proof is in the numbers.  RewardMe is easy to use while Belly is a hassle to use – that is why we sign up 31x more customers per location than Belly.

    Final thoughts

    Belly is a technology company focused on providing consumers with a universal rewards program.  To satisfy consumers, Belly signs up merchants to their rewards program.  In this way, a consumer is signing up for Belly specifically as opposed to a merchant’s branded rewards program.

    On the other hand, RewardMe is a technology company focused on providing merchants with a platform to better understand and engage with customers.  To satisfy merchants, RewardMe makes it very easy for merchants to sign up customers into their rewards program.  This is why our solution is customized to fit the merchant’s brand.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts about the comparison and to receiving a reply from the Belly team.

    4 comments
    etsai79
    etsai79

    Hi Yu-Kai,


    Thanks for your in-depth analysis between Belly and ReadMe. Looking at both videos and data, I certainly do agree with you that ReadMe is certainly much easier for consumer to use, all you need to do is punching in your mobile number. 


    But do you know why and how Belly managed to obtain Series-B $10 million from Andreeson Horowitz?


    What is RewardMe's strategy to go up head-to-head against Belly? Thanks!


    Eddie

    Yu-kai Chou
    Yu-kai Chou moderator

    @etsai79 Hey Eddie, thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, this is an old post and since then I have stepped down as CEO of RewardMe. 2 Years after that, RewardMe did not make it due to personnel issues (despite having a kick ass product as above).

    My quick answer to your question is that fundraising is not just about product performance. Belly founders is within the family of Groupon, which means they have an instant network of investors available. Also, they adopt the "brute force distribution model" where they raise a lot of money, hire a ton of sales people, and push their products into many merchants (many merchants used to complain to us about that). We did not have that luxury to hire an army and we targeted large chain stores. We did manage to close the $1.5M customer revenue deal with a national chain store though, but it didn't survive the personnel issues.

    etsai79
    etsai79

    @Yu-kai Chou @etsai79 @DrEddieTsai Hello Yu-kai, Thanks for your prompt response and greatly appreciated for your explanation.


    You definitely had a kick ass product, it's a pity that it didn't lift off and took the market by storm.


    I looked at the Belly website and their operation using QRCode. It probably wouldn't work well here in Asia, as the mobile network is not that fast in comparison to the States, because almost everyone is on a "all-you-can-eat" plan and the network is virtually unusable in a crowded place.


    RewardMe is a much easier way to accumulate loyalty points, as you don't have to toss out your smartphone but simply input your mobile number (which is uniquely enough to identify an user). I think this will work well in the Asian market. 


    Have you encountered any synchronisation issue with loyalty points being accumulated at different stores within a national retailer chain? Thanks!


    Cheers,


    Eddie

    Yu-kai Chou
    Yu-kai Chou moderator

    @etsai79 @DrEddieTsai Usually if the store has internet (even flaky ones), as long as it connects, the data syncs. The only possibility that this would work out negatively, is lets the internet in the store is bad to the point of only working 5 seconds every 5 minutes (which I would consider "unusable internet"). If the user who has accumulated many points redeems a reward at a store, and within 5 minutes rushes to another store (who also has flaky internet), gets in line, and redeems the reward again before the system syncs up, that is possible but very unlikely. And if anything, the system can then make an exception and give the user negative points after it syncs up. If the user cares about being a longterm customer at all (instead of just doing this clever trick once and running away), it wouldn't be an issue. If it's just about points accumulation, it generally isn't a problem (unless some guy asks 40 people in different stores to enter the same phone number and pays money to supercharge his account in a short period of time). Hope that helps.

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