Online-to-offline rewards company Plink will launch its iOS app in about two weeks, Bank Innovation has learned.
CEO Peter Vogel told us that the app will allow users to check in at Plink’s merchant partners, claim benefits, and share all this on social media.
The Denver-based company recently completed Series A funding of $3 million from GroTech Ventures, a Silicon Valley institution with a large portfolio of high-profile startups.
Plink has taken the online idea of affiliate marketing — where an advertiser pays referring partners for bringing in business — and moved that offline. “Customers still spend 80% to 90% of their dollars offline,” said Vogel.
A customer signs up at plink.com or downloads the app, links a debit or credit card to the account, and is presented with offers at offline retailers. When the customer goes to the retailer and makes a purchase, he is rewarded with Plink Points, which can be redeemed at certain values for gift cards. Vogel describes Plink as the “anti-Groupon” in that first-time visitors pay full price, then receive a “thank you” reward, with benefits and discounts accruing on repeat visits.
For its retailer partners, Plink offers data showing customer behavior. The data is downloaded from the consumer’s card or bank account in read-only form to Plink, and is then sliced and diced to show retailers where customers are spending money in their segment. After rewards are displayed to customers and redeemed, Plink can show retailers the efficacy of offers with before-and-after data.
“Plink members spend 50% to 75% more at our partners,” Vogel said. “We’re typically seeing 20% to 40% increase in market share for our partners” among consumers who use Plink.
Plink was built on the Yodlee platform, but has recently migrated to Intuit.
The retailers involved with Plink are large restaurant chains such as Burger King, Arby’s, Outback Steakhouse, and Quiznos. Other partners include Regal Cinemas, Gap and 1-800-Flowers, with more merchants in apparel, gas, and groceries soon to be announced, according to Vogel.
“We get paid a percentage of total sales we drive to them,” said Vogel. “In highly competitive markets, such as gas, it’s typically 1% to 2%. With restaurants, it can be more like 10% to 12%.”
Plink Points acquired through check-ins and purchases at partners can be redeemed for gift cards at plink.com. The most popular cards are from Walmart, Amazon, and Target. Gift cards for Facebook Credits used to be Plink’s primary offering, but they are no longer available.