Customer Experience Featured Article

Startup 'Thanx' You for Shopping: Revolutionizing the Loyalty Card

November 19, 2014

Loyalty cards are generally a welcome part of the shopping customer experience. From the lowliest punch card for a free latte to the most high-tech app-driven experience geared toward keeping all a user's purchases handy to refer to, most shoppers like to know that business is appreciated, particularly if that appreciation comes with discounts or freebies later. Thanx—a recent startup in the field—is eager to change the way we think of loyalty cards by consolidating the process down into our often-present smartphones.

With Thanx, not only do customers get a clear benefit of having purchases automatically tracked in terms of progress toward a goal, but merchants also get the ability to better track and thus reward the best customers in the roster. Rewards are issued automatically according to structures that the merchants decide on beforehand, and all this can be done with comparative ease, including a lack of need to pick up hardware or anything else to help run the process.

Thanx currently has, at last report, partnerships with both Visa and Mastercard, so it would seem that the company has a sufficiently sound base to not need to worry overmuch about infrastructure involved in getting those rewards out to the users. Thanx is also said to be the only system of its breed that works with Apple (News - Alert) Pay, and while Apple Pay has proven to be something of a controversial system—particularly among those merchants who were looking to use a system of a different design known as CurrentC—it's proven quite popular with users, and that's going to give Thanx a real leg up.

Given that, according to reports, 60 percent of loyalty cards go inactive within the first year, and another 30 percent go unused altogether, there's a clear benefit here to having a more automated system in charge of the process. With Thanx also working with Apple Pay, that's a further advantage to Thanx's position, and just to top off this already impressive package, Thanx has reportedly brought in a hefty $4.7 million investment from Sequoia Capital (News - Alert), which will allow the company—according to its founder, Zach Goldstein—to augment its engineering and sales departments in a bid to get more products out and get same farther afield.

Combine all these factors into one central package, and it's clear that Thanx will be a force to be reckoned with. It has partnerships in place, it has an infrastructure ready to go, it has a product with a clear value proposition and even the potential to offer it up on a subscription basis. Plus, it can do all of its various functions completely in the background, well out of the line of sight of the customer, allowing it to remain quietly useful until, suddenly, it has some great news for a customer who's just earned a valuable bonus. It's an app that has no news for a user until suddenly it has great news, and that's no mean feat.

Thanx is representing a terrific value proposition for both merchants and customers, and that in turn offers more value to the merchant as well. Any time the merchant can improve the customer experience for the customer, that improves the likelihood said customer will return. Return customers usually keep businesses alive, and anything that does that is worth its weight in purchase orders.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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