With SMBs paying around 2.75 percent to payment processors for every transaction conducted via debit or credit cards and only a monthly statement to show for it every month, Swipely is looking to disrupt a market still largely reliant on traditional suppliers, despite the rise of new mobile payments players. BetaKit covered the startup in March to showcase its growth to major cities in the U.S. and adoption among merchants as an all-in-one platform to help them accept payments, gain customer insights, and grow their revenue. Today the company announced the launch of a CRM system to help retailers track and retain customers, as well as the ability to correlate their social media activity with sales.
Swipely originally launched as a social network where consumers could share their purchases, similar to Blippy, which has since shut down, and the recently-launched Mine. The company switched directions in February 2011 to focus on Since launching, and founder Angus Davis told Mashable at the time that he didn’t ”think people want to share their purchases. Period.” The company refocused on a platform that rewarded consumers for swiping their debit or credit cards at local merchants, and since then has evolved into a payments, loyalty, and analytics solution targeted to local merchants. The company reports it now has hundreds of merchants on board and handles $250 million in annual transactions.
“The problem that we focus on at Swipely is to help local merchants, like restaurants, to better understand their customers and to grow their sales with their understanding. There’s all different type of customers who come into a local merchant and they’re at different places in the customer lifecycle,” said CEO and Founder Angus Davis in an interview with BetaKit. “It’s difficult for local small business owners to really understand who their customers are and the differences between them. They don’t have the technology and tools that online ecommerce folks have.”
With a focus on SMBs that process over 70 percent of their sales via credit and debit cards, the company works with local merchants in order to integrate on top of their existing point-of-sale (POS) system and matches their cost structure. Once integrated, Swipely offers them added features like the newly-launched CRM tool that builds customer profiles and is updated automatically for each card-paying customer, helping merchants track things like frequency of visits, spending, and lifetime value. Merchants can then add notes specific to the customer and edit their contact information. The company also announced an updated analytics dashboard, optimized for tablets, that lets offline retailers aggregate multi-unit sales data and correlate the data with variables like activity on Facebook and the weather, in addition to enabling them to segment different demographics and create customized marketing campaigns.
The payment processing space continues to heat up with mobile payments still attempting to hit mainstream and companies like Square and LevelUp looking to take the lead, with each of those solutions integrating loyalty and rewards into their POS solutions. There are also new entrants like CARDFREE, whose launch BetaKit covered recently, popping up all the time. Swipely is different because it doesn’t want to exist as a siloed solution, rather a layer on top of a retailer’s existing POS. On the marketing and loyalty front merchants have options like LocalBonus, Glyder’s mobile-first approach and Capillary Technologies’ CRM solution for building customer loyalty.
However, Davis remained confident that although there are many companies offering different facets of what the company provides, that he’s much more focused on taking market share away from the larger and traditional payment processing providers like Heartland Payment Systems, Mercury, and Element Payment Services. The company will continue to add deeper integration with more POS systems 2013, and work on growing its base of merchant customers. With companies continually trying to crack the code in terms of customer loyalty and retention, merchants will have to decide if they want to replace their existing POS solutions with something like Square Register, or if they would rather keep their existing systems and add Swipely on top.