SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Trevor Parsons, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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First Data Introduces Perka™ Mobile Loyalty Solution for SMB Merchants

A 2014 BIA/Kelsey and Manta study of 1,000 small businesses in the United States revealed that while more than 60 percent of small to mid-sized business (SMB) owners generate a majority of their annual revenue from repeat customers, more than two-thirds do not have a loyalty program in place. To fill the void and to live up to its commitment to help its clients grow their businesses, First Data Corporation, the global leader in payment technology and services solutions, today announced the commercial integration of its Perka™ Mobile Loyalty Solution. Its apps are now available through First Data distribution systems.

As today’s small business owners continually look for modern and measurable ways to boost their bottom lines and create personal connections with their customers, a robust loyalty program can help. The statistics are staggering: In fact, a small five percent increase in customer retention, for example, can lead to a 25 to 100 percent increase in profit for a company, according to the study. With First Data’s Perka solution, any SMB can turn occasional customers into loyal fans by combining rewards and incentives with repeat purchases.

Extending far beyond traditional couponing, newspaper and yellow page ads, or old-fashioned paper loyalty cards, Perka, the most recent offering from First Data Small Business Solutions, is a cloud-based customer loyalty solution that connects businesses to their customers using location-based apps and mobile phones. Acquired by First Data last October, Perka, now a wholly-owned subsidiary, was named one of 2013’s most innovative companies by Fast Company. It helps SMB owners maintain profitable and long-term relationships with their customers by providing a sustainable and highly personalized incentive program.

Here’s how it works: Merchants sign up, activate their welcome kit and then work with a Perka customer service representative to design a customized loyalty program. Customers participate by downloading the Perka app on any smart phone, where they instantly see a list of participating merchants nearby and what loyalty promotions they are offering. When entering the store, customers launch the app and check in, which signals their presence to the merchant, who then greets them by name and validates their purchases. Making a personal connection with customers is a key factor in building loyalty, which often results in repeat visits.

Take, for example, a visit to the neighborhood coffee shop. After entering the shop and checking in via the Perka app, a customer will see the merchant’s available loyalty promotions. Said coffee shop may offer a free latte after the first 10 purchases, or perhaps even a free pastry to introduce the customer to its baked goods.

“Until recently, effective loyalty programs have been largely out of reach for small merchants,” said Rick Ducey, managing director, BIA/Kelsey. “The programs were too cumbersome for SMBs to manage, and SMBs often lacked the technology to implement them. This has changed with the development of new SMB–friendly loyalty programs such as Perka, which enable small merchants to compete against programs provided by much larger competitors, and clearly connect the dots between loyalty and the bottom line.”

Perka Solution Now Available on Clover Station

One of the newest specialty apps introduced to the platform, Perka is now available for the Clover™ Station, First Data’s elegant touchscreen point-of-sale solution. The Clover solution helps merchants track inventory, manage employees, build lasting customer relationships, and accept payments with ease — all on one dynamic system. Merchants may customize and grow their system’s capabilities with the ever-expanding Clover App Market, available only through the Clover Station.

“An integrated solution like Perka for the Clover Station is yet another proof point of First Data’s transformation from a transaction processor to a trusted business advisor and technology solutions provider,” said Guy Chiarello, First Data president. “Loyalty programs are an effective method to increase sales and build a stronger base of regular customers. With Perka, we are adding valuable functionality to First Data’s SMB offerings, taking advantage of our unique position and scale to deliver a powerful solution to small and medium-sized businesses.”

Based in New York City and Portland, Ore., Perka operates loyalty programs for businesses ranging from neighborhood coffee shops to ultra-modern retailers and supports merchants across the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

For more information about the Perka Mobile Loyalty Solution, merchants should call 1-866-965-8330 or visit firstdata.com/perka. An online media kit is also available.

Around the world, every second of every day, First Data makes payment transactions secure, fast and easy for merchants, financial institutions and their customers. First Data leverages its vast product portfolio and expertise to drive client revenue and profitability. Whether the choice of payment is by debit or credit card, gift card, check or mobile phone, online or at the checkout counter, First Data takes every opportunity to go beyond the transaction. More information about the company is available on FirstData.com as well as on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

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