You dine at food trucks, but how often do you get to drive them? Your barber trims your beard, but when will you ever get to shave his? Now, those opportunities have come to Boston in the form of Belly, a loyalty program that rewards customers for frequenting their favorite stores, restaurants and hangouts.
Belly operates on a points system, simply requiring customers to sign up through an email address, which downloads all the points-earned onto the Belly mobile smartphone app. Logan LaHive, Belly’s CEO, emphasizes that the model is 100 percent accessible to all users, offering a physical wallet card for those that aren’t interested in using the mobile app. Additionally, there is no credit card required, ever.
Belly charges businesses monthly subscription fees, who, once signed up for Belly, are all equipped with iPads to allow them to garner customer sign-ups as well as keep track of points. The Chicago-based company received a $10 million Series B round of funding from Andreessen Horowitz earlier this month, and launched in Boston two weeks ago, with 40 local businesses already on board.
But Belly isn’t your average “Buy 10 sandwiches, get a free bag of chips,” rewards program. “It goes beyond a few dollars off here and there,” says LaHive, explaining how each campaign is unique to the culture and brand of the businesses attached to them. The result is a hybrid of free products and services, along with more unique rewards such as all you can eat pasta in 10 minutes at Lilly’s Gourmet Pasta Express or learning how to make a Chicago-style pizza at Sicilia’s Pizzeria & Café.
“I got 99 problems, but rewards ain’t one!” says the dog that serves as the mascot for Belly.
While I can’t say that I’m too keen on carbo-loading as much chicken alfredo as possible in 10 minutes, I love the idea of bonding with a local business the more I hang out there. The way that Belly allows businesses to customize their rewards reminds me a bit of how Kickstarter allows you to dole out rewards to donors. For a food truck enthusiast, actually getting a chance to venture behind the wheel of the mobile eatery, for example, is a fantastic way to experience a new side of your favorite local business.
Here’s a further look at some Boston-area companies using Belly and their point system on the platform
2000 points- Shave Peter’s (The Owner’s) Head
1500 points: Update Your Interior Decoration With Your Own Turkish Coffee Set
250 points- Hop On! Ride On The Go Fish Truck With Us For A Day
250 points – take the noodle challenge: all you can eat pasta for 10 minutes
10 points – Tools Of The Trade: Learn How To Sew Your Own Buttons
75 points – VIP Access At Our Next In-Store Meet-And-Greet
For more on Belly, check out this video explaining their model:
Will you Belly up?