A new opportunity has arrived in Three Rivers that is geared toward small businesses. It comes in the form of a community-based customer loyalty program that will have local businesses offering cash-back rewards, clickable coupons, digital gift cards, and scannable punch cards all with the swipe of a customer’s smart phone.
On Friday, April 22, the developers of the newly launched Buzzub app, Sunil Joshi and Kal Krishnan of Palo Alto, were in Three Rivers to provide a presentation of how this software can service a tourist community and its residents. Buzzub provides benefits to both the merchant and the customer.
But there’s another perk to this app that will especially appeal to Three Rivers folks. Nonprofit service organizations can also be beneficiaries. That cash-back rewards option mentioned above may be given, in whole or in part, to a local charitable group with just a press of the “Donate” button.
The Buzzub app launched in March in Morgan Hill, a Silicon Valley community. On April 21, the app launched in Visalia.
The local launch is due to the vision of Visalia resident Eddie Perez, who saw the potential of Buzzub in Tulare County communities and formed a working relationship with the co-founders. In addition to Three Rivers and Visalia, Buzzub will soon be online in Exeter and Tulare, as well as other cities throughout California, which will give Buzzub consumers a lot of small-business choices of where to spend their dollars, whether in their hometown or on the road.
Merchants— Think airline points. Why fly United when you have points accruing with American Airlines? That’s how the major corporations entice customers and create customer loyalty.
Now consider that on a small-business scale. If one restaurant has automated rewards or a coupon offer and another one doesn’t, where would a potential customer be more inclined to dine?
Merchants can join Buzzub at no cost to them ever, receiving advertising simply by being listed on the app and creating customer loyalty via the unlimited use of easy-to-modify, easy-to-update digital coupons. While this Basic Plan is completely free, there are, however, additional levels of merchant participation available.
Merchants may upgrade to a Rewards Plan (cash-back rewards provided to the consumer’s mobile wallet) or the Premium Plan (multi-coupon capability, analytics, and more). Depending on the level of service, merchants will receive various Buzzub marketing materials to announce the business’s participation.
Buzzub also has available for purchase the necessary smartphones and tablets or the merchant may provide their own devices (WiFi capability at the location of business is necessary). There are also tablet and phone stands available so the app is always on and readily available at the business’s point of sale.
But no matter what the plan, the idea behind the Buzzub app from the merchant perspective is to attract new, regular, and lost customers and keep them coming back.
“I was quite impressed with the presentation and the program itself,” said Mike Hand, business manager and director of operations at St. Anthony Retreat Center. “In this time of technology and instant communication, businesses and organizations need to take advantage of everything that is out there, especially if you can start without costing a dime.”
Charitable organizations— St. Anthony Retreat and the other dozens of nonprofit groups in Three Rivers -— from the school to the Senior League and everyone in between — will have the opportunity to benefit directly from the Buzzub app. As cash-back rewards start building up in a customer’s “Mobile Wallet,” they can choose to use those dollars toward future purchases or donate some or all of that money to one or more of the participating service groups.
“Anyone can recommend a charity/nonprofit, and the group is given a specific promo code,” explained Eddie. “They are added to the ‘Charities’ drop-down list when they get 100 people to download the app and enter promo code.”
Donation activity is required to stay on the app.
“It’s not necessarily amount driven, it’s more focused on activity as to not have charities on the app that no one is contributing to,” continued Eddie.
Customers— So what’s in it for the diners, shoppers, lodgers, and those seeking professional services such as car repair, plumbing, electricians, and more? Cost savings and instant cash-back rewards.
That’s actually part of the meaning behind Buzzub’s palindromic name. No matter what end of the transaction someone is on, there are benefits.
Buzzub gives consumers the ability to shop local and get immediately rewarded for it. The Buzzub app for the customer assists them in locating, shopping, earning, and redeeming loyalty rewards.
Just download the free app. There are already savings to be had in Visalia, and Three Rivers will soon be online.
“For new towns, we are requiring a minimum set of businesses,” said Sunil, co-founder and CEO of the start-up. “With Three Rivers, we are confident it will happen, so are not waiting. Five businesses and one or two charities will do it.”
Efrain Ponce, owner of Sequoia Cider Mill, which was where Buzzub’s local presentation took place, liked what he heard, so the Cider Mill became Three Rivers’s first Buzzub-participating business.
Artists— The Buzzub app has an option to assist local artists, another reason to take notice in Three Rivers. There are specific rebate and reward programs for “Makers” to offer, such as an artist who may not have a storefront but sells products. There are scratch-off rebates and gift card programs for this business sector that will attract customers and entice them to return.
Nikki Crain, a Three Rivers handweaver, attended the presentation. She doesn’t think the app can work for her business since she doesn’t have a storefront or website from which to sell her wares.
“I read the fine print of the agreement that they gave me, and it says I have to pay $10 a month if I have less than five transactions a month,” she said. “It is meant for a business with a lot of traffic and the possibility of repeat customers. I can see where the app is valuable as a consumer, and I will keep it on my phone and watch for opportunities to use it that way.”
Sign up— For this app to work in Three Rivers and allow all to reap their particular benefits, it will take the cooperation of merchants, local customers, and several nonprofit service organizations.
For customers, download the app at the App Store (Apple), Google Play (Android), or online at http://buzzub.me.
For merchants, go to http://buzzub.us. For the Basic Plan, it is easy to sign up, just takes a few minutes, and requires only the most basic information. For the Rewards Plan, the initial sign-up can be done online, then a Buzzub representative will contact the merchant for credit card information, to provide the equipment, assist with set-up, and arrange staff training.
Eliza Borjon is onboard with Buzzub as a local community liaison who will assist merchants in signing up for the program. She may be contacted at (559) 786-3882 or email@example.com.
For any questions or for more information, contact Eliza, visit the Buzzub website at www.buzzub.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.