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Sponsored Case Study: Small Cafe Sees Big Rewards

Five and a half years ago, Dave Ung and his wife opened a small cafÉ in an area ripe with big competition. It didn’t take them long to realize they needed smart technology to keep pace with mammoth chains Starbucks and Peet’s Coffee. Ung knew his customers had sky-high expectations for fast, hassle-free in-store experiences, but he didn’t have the budget or the customer volume to justify the hefty price tag of a branded mobile app.   
Enter Spendgo, a personalized customer engagement platform that builds loyalty for chains like Jamba Juice, Dickey’s and Cold Stone Creamery. Shortly after opening its doors, Black Diamond CafÉ became a favorite local spot for Spendgo’s director of sales, who saw the platform’s potential to give Ung a competitive edge. “We developed a relationship with the owner early on, and he really understood the value of loyalty,” said Ivan Matkovic, CEO and founder of Spendgo. “The owner saw what was happening at Starbucks, but he understood that a mobile app didn’t make sense for his business.”

Spendgo allows customers to enter their phone number on a small screen, and opt-in to start earning rewards. The non-invasive, yet highly-effective approach fit the bill. Ung was impressed with the application’s ease of use, seamless customer interaction and ability to reward customers in meaningful ways.   
“I’m not a technical guy, but when I saw that this loyalty platform didn't require a physical card, and we didn’t have to bother customers to get them to use it, that got my attention,” Ung said. Even more compelling, the software could run on his legacy POS system and migrate to any future system he chose—via an unlikely source: his receipt printer.
Seamless Integration
Spendgo is one of the many cloud-based software solutions that can be easily added to any POS system via a simple printer upgrade using Epson OmniLink intelligent printers. Transaction data from the cafÉ flows through the POS to the printer, then up to the cloud, where Spendgo accesses it, and makes it actionable for the cafÉ. With legacy systems, adding functionality requires costly, time-consuming integration that retailers, especially small ones, simply can't afford.

“At first, retailers are concerned that the data is not integrated into the point-of-sale,” noted Spendgo’s Matkovic. “I tell them to think of the Epson printer as an application programming interface, just another form of integration, except it’s easier because you’re repurposing the existing data output. That’s when the light goes on, and people get it.”

Even though Spendgo was installed on Black Diamond’s legacy system, it was easy to migrate to a new POS. “When he decided to upgrade his system, we told him about the Epson solution, which would allow him to continue using Spendgo without any interruption in business,” said Matkovic. “We installed our new platform with an 8-inch tablet for the guest-facing display, and he was up and running,” said Matkovic.

“When we upgraded to a tablet-based POS, we realized we were not tied to any system,” commented Ung. “All of our customer data goes on the Epson cloud, so I can see everything wherever I am, in real time. If I upgrade to another system, the new system and Spendgo can still talk to each other via the Epson printer.”
Competing To Win
With more than 5 million people on the Spendgo platform, the company boasts a 30 percent opt-in rate for SMS text messaging, and a full 92 percent of its rewards get redeemed. With Spendgo up and running at Black Diamond CafÉ, customers earn for every dollar they spend, rather than just per visit. Since no manual entry by the cashier is required, it minimizes fraudulent or ‘sweetheart’ rewards – which are difficult to track and audit. By taking the complexity out of the rewards process, Black Diamond can move lines faster, safeguard against fraud and reward customers well.
“We didn’t want to hassle customers to sign up for a loyalty card. When they experience how easy it is to use the rewards, they love it,” Ung said. Customers simply enter their phone number into Spendgo’s tablet on a stand at the register and rewards are added to the user profile. Matkovic reinforced that it’s easy to brand the screen with logos, a Spendgo benefit that usually comes with a hefty price tag.
“We’re in the San Francisco Bay area, so this is a techie town,” commented Ung. “It’s a no-brainer to have something like this for us to compete with Peet’s and Starbucks. Why would they come to us over them? Because they happen to have a $5.00 redemption reward waiting for them to use anytime they’d like. We have a loyalty program that allows them to feel rewarded without hassle and it just works consistently without issues. That builds loyalty in itself.”
Interested in this solution? Call 512-868-2498 or email to find out more. Or stop by to see Epson America at MURTEC, Booth #75.
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