Many people frequent the same coffee shop or breakfast spot on the way to work each day, and many are left with wallets full of stamp cards, and relatively minimal rewards for every 10 items purchased. In a move that combines the physical and digital realms, an app called Belly merges these cards into a digital wallet of sorts, a rewards program on your phone. The premise is simple: many new stores use iPads as cash registers, with the prominence of services like Square encouraging the move away from traditional registers. As such, Belly presents each of their users a unique QR code within the app that’s readable via the store’s iPad’s front-facing camera. Once the unique QR code is scanned Belly registers that the user made a purchase, and adds points to that user’s tally which can be redeemed, much like stamp cards, for real-world rewards.
What’s so special about Belly, though, is that it combines real-world, tangible, everyday rewards, while combining a simple piece of new technology to streamline a user pain-point, while encouraging brand engagement by allowing users to share their rewards across their social and digital networks. At the same time, Belly provides a map of shops that use the service, encouraging active users to build rewards within the app. It also seems likely that those with Belly would be incentivized not only to use the map to find stores, but to use the app in conjunction with the map to build up rapport with brands and brick-and-mortar establishments that they might otherwise pass up.
Where we’ve seen apps that look to reward mobile users in specific moments, Belly is one of the only apps that looks to create and establish long-term brand loyalty, in addition to allowing brands the creativity to create quirky rewards of their own, creating positive feedback loops of loyal shoppers. It’s not only a useful app, but a very forward-thinking method of thinking through consumer loyalty and brand interactions.
Did you know that video network Twitch has 45 million monthly active users who tune in to watch live streams of people gaming? In fact, there are currently 85,000 tuning into League of Legends right now. Most of these streams are as much about the gameplay as they are about the gamer who simultaneously broadcasts a view of themselves via their webcam. This phenomenon is so prevalent that Google is rumored to be in talks to acquire them for $1 billion.
Is this behavior voyeuristic? Yes. Is it lonely? Possibly. Is it surprising? Not so much. There is actually quite a bit Twitch can teach us about ourselves.
Arcades And Shared Experiences
At first glance Twitch’s growth seems unfathomable but this behavior is actually nothing new. As Slate does a great job pointing out, Twitch harks back to the old arcades where people would congregate to play games as much as to watch others play, peering over to take in the action of Pong or Pac Man. This is the same behavior as Twitch, but in this case technology is enabling it at a far greater scale. And it’s not social in the same way as Facebook or Twitter. This is about shared experience not sharing your experience and I think that is an important distinction.
The Power of Live Events
What Twitch teaches us is the importance of live experiences. In today’s on demand world there is still a desire, likely more than ever to be “in the moment.” There needs to be that sense that if you blink, you’ll miss out which is exactly what Twitch provides to the gaming audience. And Twitch isn’t the exception. In fact, major events are also experiencing growth like the Oscars which has achieved the highest household ratings in nine years.
We have continued to see the purchase funnel being squeezed at both ends as companies strive to satisfy consumers’ need for instant gratification. Content and commerce used to be different, but now we are starting to see the two come together as is the case with Vogue’s recent entry into Instagram commerce.
Utilizing rewardStyle’s adtech tools, Vogue users can effectively “add to cart” by liking product photos on the Vogue’s account. It’s a great affiliate marketing program as Vogue can leverage their influence to drive purchases on behalf of their retail partners, receiving as much as 20% commission rate on sales. According to rewardStyle, the new offering has generated 1.5 million emails per day across it’s 100,000 account which include Vogue.
Why It Matters For Gen Z
Only 23% of teens now see Facebook as the most important social network, down from 33% six months ago, and 42% from last year. And though status updates are on the wane, teens are gravitating to a more visual web, sharing photos and images to Instagram and Pinterest. To Gen Z, photos represent an authentic visual cue to illustrate a more real version of life. More importantly, they don’t like to be sold to directly so leveraging an affiliate like Vogue lends credibility to retailers. While Instagram has yet to prove its value for brands, testing the waters is critical to engage a generation that is not married to any one platform or service.