September 2011

Featured Shopify App: Incentify by Points.com

by Joey deVilla on September 27, 2011

"Incentify by Points.com": View of an airplane's wing, sky, oceans and islands from the window seat

Loyalty

See the photo above? I took it from my seat on Sunday afternoon. Seat 31A, flying out of Tampa. Earned 1,097 miles on that leg alone, double that if you count the trip there. It was flying on business, but thanks to my loyalty program, that flight was doing double duty: getting me to the conference and customer meetings and getting me closer to a free flight for my vacation (which might include partaking in that big tomato food fight in Spain).

TV set showing "Star Trek"

Same deal goes for my TV. Bought it at an electronics shop which has a loyalty program, whose points I’m going to use to keep my collection of console games up to date (I’m thinking of getting this one when it comes out).

I’m sure I’m not the only one who keeps score of his loyalty points and who keeps coming back to get more. Chances are, you’re probably a member of at least a couple of loyalty programs. They’re a big deal these days, from those “buy so many coffees, get one free” cards at your local cafe to frequent flyer miles and hotel points.

Mark Johnson, CEO of the loyalty marketing association Loyalty 360 declared 2011 “the year of customer loyalty”, saying that creating engaged customers is more important than ever in today’s crowded marketplace. Loyalty’s more than just a program now: it’s a strategic business goal.

(To find out more about what Johnson thinks this year’s trends are, see the article 11 Key Customer Loyalty Trends for 2011.)

As a Shopify shop owner, you’re probably wondering how you can incorporate a loyalty program into your shop. And not just any loyalty program, but one that offers rewards that customers really want and will encourage them to keep coming back.

That’s where Incentify by Points.com comes in. It’s a Shopify app created by Points.com, the system that lets people get the most out of their loyalty programs, from frequent flyer miles to hotel points to credit card rewards and more. With Incentify, you can reward loyal customers with points for the many programs under Points.com’s umbrella and keep them coming back to your shop.

We talked with the folks from Incentify to explain how their app works and what it can do for you; their answers are below.

What does your app do?

Incentify app iconIncentify by Points.com drives online merchant sales by allowing them award their customers with the world’s largest loyalty programs, such as American Airlines® AAdvantage®, US Airways® Dividend Miles®, HawaiianMiles, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, Best Buy Reward Zone®, and Frontier Airlines EarlyReturns®. Incentify puts the choice in the hands of your customer allowing them to receive their loyalty miles or points in their favourite program.  Incentify increases customer loyalty, engagement and creates a differentiated value proposition.

What are the key features of your app?

  • Incentify lets you configure ‘loyalty campaigns’ that are aligned with your business goals and help drive sales. You can choose to reward customers based on how much they spend with you or manually distribute loyalty miles/points to support contests or special promotions.
  • Your customers are automatically provided a unique claim code they can use to redeem for the loyalty miles/points you awarded them in the loyalty program of their choice.  Incentify posts your customer’s loyalty miles/points directly in their chosen loyalty program.
  • You’ll have access to our ‘merchant resource center’ to grab banners and other marketing materials to promote your loyalty campaign featuring the world’s biggest loyalty brands such as American Airlines® AAdvantage®, US Airways® Dividend Miles®, HawaiianMiles, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, Best Buy Reward Zone®, and Frontier AirlinesEarlyReturns®.

Screenshot of the "Campaign Settings" page of the Incentify App

Why should shop owners use your app?

Lots of reasons! You’ll be able to:

  • Reach a huge audience: There are over 2 billion loyalty program memberships in the US, and 120 million in Canada.
  • Increase revenue: Loyalty program members spend 13% more than non-loyalty program members.
  • Drive repeat visits: Offering loyalty rewards can increase repeat shopper annual visits by 15- 20%.
  • Increase conversion rates64% of loyalty program members report that having an online retailer offer points/miles as a purchase incentive would make them more likely to buy.
  • Give customers what they want: 73% of loyalty program members agree that when given a choice, they always pick a retailer that offers points or miles.
  • Points.com promotes your store: Shop owners who download and use Incentify can leverage Points.com social and email channels to our 3 million users and the over 100 million loyalty mile/point collectors.

"Win 50,000 loyalty points or miles!": Airplane wing as seen from window

  • Win 50000 miles or points! If you download the app before November 1st you’re automatically entered to win 50,000 points or miles in the participating loyalty program of your choice! Once you make a purchase we’ll also give you a 50% point/mile bonus until November 1st! (See the full contest details for more information.)

Tell us a little about yourself.

Screenshot of Points.com's site

A great development team at Points.com built the Incentify app.  We’re located in Toronto, Canada. Since 2000, Points International Ltd. has worked with dozens of the world’s leading loyalty programs to increase their flexibility and drive greater member engagement online.

Our team of 100+ people is headquartered in Toronto, with offices in London, Dallas and Chicago. Points.com is a public company traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX:PTS) and on the Nasdaq (PCOM).  Here are some of the loyalty programs we work with; we’ll be adding a bunch of those to the Incentify app soon.

Logos of 48 of Points.com's partners

In addition to Incentify we also operate Points.com, the world’s leading loyalty management platform and a series of commerce applications for loyalty point programs around the world.  Each year we process about $300 million worth of loyalty transactions!

Check us out at www.points.com or follow us on Twitter; we’re @PointsAdvisor.

Where did you get the idea for your app?

Example screenshot of a store incorporating Incentify; it shows a banner that says "Earn your choice of points or miles with this purchase" and logos of some of Points.com's partners

We work with the world’s biggest loyalty programs and they have been working with large merchants for years helping them drive loyalty and return visits to their stores. Until Incentify, small to medium sized online merchants have been underserved and really haven’t had great options for loyalty. Based on our work with these loyalty programs we know how great an impact offering loyalty points and miles has on sales and return visits, especially when those points come from programs such as AAdvantage, Best Buy Reward Zone, and USAirways Dividend Miles. We wanted to bridge the gap between these huge loyalty brands and the small to medium online merchant.

Where can I find out more about Incentify?

Shopify's App Store, with Incentify as a featured app

You can find out more about Incentify on its page in the Shopify App Store.

This article also appears in the Shopify Blog.

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Nicely Done, Microsoft!

by Joey deVilla on September 26, 2011

Old "Canadian Mobile Developer" banner, featuring Joey deVilla's and Frederic Harper's photos.

Well, that didn’t take long. Last week, I wrote about how Microsoft Canada’s blog for mobile developers still had my picture on the banner, even though it’s been about five months since I’d left the company. My true complaint was that the photo was two years and more importantly, twenty additional pounds out of date.

It seems that my gentle ribbing has resulted in some action being taken. If you were to go to the Canadian Mobile Developer blog right now, you’d see the updated banner, featuring my friend and former coworker and fellow Windows Phone Champ, Developer Evangelist Paul Laberge, in the spot I used to occupy:

New "Canadian Mobile Developer" banner, featuring Paul Laberge's and Frederic Harper's photos.

Remember, Microsoft Canada: any time you need an irritant to help you produce a pearl, you have but to call on my services!

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

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Facebook came on a little strong with all the changes to its interface, which left users feeling ike the abuela (grandmother) in the video above…minus the laughing. I think they also imagine the dog with Mark Zuckerberg’s face, screaming “GILF! GILF! GILF!

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

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Scenes from Today’s Toronto Techie Dim Sum

by Joey deVilla on September 21, 2011

Toronto techie dim sum 1

The return of the Toronto Techie Dim Sum lunch took place earlier today, and it went off even better than I’d hoped! It had been a while since we’ve had one of these events, so I wasn’t expecting a turnout larger than a single table at Sky Dragon (their larger tables will easily accommodate 8 or 9 people), but we ended up being sixteen people in total.

There were a number of dim sum “alumni” who showed up, including Andrew Burke, who wins the Phileas Fogg award for greatest distance travelled to attend — he’s visiting from Halifax. We also had some people who’d never been to one of these events before, including my cousin Saturn, making it an event with not only figurative, but literal family! As always, it was one of those wonderful things that happens when good people meet over good food and make good conversation. I bounced between tables, either meeting people for the first time or catching up with old friend. And it was pretty inexpensive too — it worked out to about eight bucks a person, and we all ate our fill.

Toronto techie dim sum 2

I plan to organize these on a monthly basis, typically in the middle of the week in the middle of the month. Sky Dragon are great people and are only too happy to have our business. They’ll even give us a room all to ourselves if we end up with three or more tables’ worth of people, which I’d love to see in October.

Thanks to everyone who came, and if you couldn’t make it today: see you next month!

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

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Dear Microsoft: Just Update My Photo and We’ll Be Cool

by Joey deVilla on September 21, 2011

If you were to go to Microsoft Canada’s blog for mobile developers as of this writing, you’d still see my photo in the banner:

canadian mobile developer banner

I really have no complaints about still having my face there, even though my last day at The Empire will be five months ago tomorrow. Being the Windows Phone guy was one of my favourite parts of my stint as a developer evangelist at Microsoft, and it’s always an honour to share a banner with Frederic Harper.

My real complaint is that the picture they’re using is from two years, and more importantly, twenty pounds ago (about the weight of a full-sized accordion).

Hey Microsoft: keep my picture up if you must, but could you at least use a newer, somewhat skinnier one? Perhaps one with me sporting my new, fashionable, I probably-paid-too-much glasses with Philippe Starck frames?

Self-portrait of Joey deVilla, taken in a mirror, showing off his new glasses

(By the bye, that’s my bathroom in the photo. I have a damn fine “re-bachelor” pad.)

If you’d much rather have a photo keeping with the mobile theme, may I suggest this one, where I’m posing with a phone and a wacky phone accessory? The pink says “Metro” – in every sense of the word!

"Moshi Moshi Metro!" Joey deVilla at Cafe Novo, holding Verna Kulish's pink iPhone connected to a pink Moshi Moshi handset.

That’s my friend and fellow ex-Microsoftie Verna Kulish’s Moshi Moshi Retro POP handset, which plugs into just about any smartphone. Feel free to Photoshop out Verna’s iPhone and replace it with an appropriate Windows Phone device – perhaps a Samsung Focus (my Windows Phone) or whatever Nokia’s releasing this fall.

Feel free to use either pic, Microsoft – as long as it’s current and skinnier, we’ll be cool.

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

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We’ll Know For Sure Next Year [Updated]

by Joey deVilla on September 21, 2011

windows good and shit

This photo has been floating about the interwebs for the past couple of days. I’d have marked Windows 3.1 as “shit” and Windows 95 as “good” myself, but that would’ve ruined the pattern.

Update, September 21, 2011: My friend Hector Kearns points out that Windows 2000 is conveniently missing from the list, which would make two good versions in a row and breaks the good/shit pattern.

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Featured Shopify App: ShopLogic

by Joey deVilla on September 19, 2011

microphone

Welcome to another featured Shopify app article, where we put the spotlight on one of the many developers building apps for Shopify. We’ve approached the people who build Shopify apps and asked them a few questions about what their app does, what its features are and why shopowners should use their app.

The plan is to do this for every app in the Shopify app store, to make sure that shop owners know all about the apps that are available and how they can extend their shops’ capabilities. We also hope it’ll make rock stars out of the developers who build apps on the Shopify platform!

Today’s featured app is ShopLogic. It’s also the currently featured app on the App Store.

What does ShopLogic do?

shoplogic screenshot

ShopLogic provides a powerful promotions platform that increases sales and social referrals for your ecommerce store. We make it easy to launch, manage, and optimize promotions.

Right now, during the beta period, the app is free. Get it now; you can be up and running in three minutes!

What are ShopLogic’s Key Features?

  • shoplogic iconShopLogic lets you target promotions to specific shopper profile segments, like “loyal/repeat” or “new visitor” shoppers. It makes sure that the most effective promotion is being offered to the right shopper. You can also choose to run a broad offer and target everyone.
  • ShopLogic supports social promotions, which incentivize shoppers to share with and refer friends through Facebook or Twitter. It’s a great way for shop owners to increase their social media presence while also increasing sales.
  • It’s simple. You can choose from our selection of pre-defined promotions or customize to suit your needs.

Why should shop owners use ShopLogic?

ShopLogic increases sales and conversion rate for shop owners’ stores. We enable them to offer the right promotion to convert browsing shoppers into paying customers. Also, we let shop owners encourage shoppers to share on Facebook and Twitter, thereby driving additional social referral traffic to the store.

Shop owners can get a free trial of the app and it’s easy! – they will be up and running with promotions in just 3 minutes.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

shoplogic logo

ShopLogic is a venture-backed startup company based in San Francisco, California. Founded in 2011, they provide optimization technology for ecommerce sites to increase sales. The Shopify app is the first of other compelling products to come.

You can find us online in the following ways:

How long did it take for you to build ShopLogic?

We built an initial version of the app in about 2 months. There is a lot of sophisticated technology going on in the background that allows us to offer targeted promotions to specific shopper profiles in real-time and to provide the analytics about promotions’ effectiveness.

The Shopify API is quite robust with great documentation so overall we have had a very positive experience partnering with Shopify.

Where can I find out more about ShopLogic?

shoplogic icon

You can find out more about ShopLogic on its page in the Shopify App Store.

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.

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