Glue raises $8 million to automate customer loyalty programs

Loyalty automation platform Glue today raked in $8 million in series A funding from private investors led by Unicorn Technologies. The startup says that the proceeds will be put toward nudging local businesses to adopt loyalty programs.

Retail has taken a major hit during the pandemic. Total sales are expected to hit 5.7% from 2019, nearly 12% below eMarketer’s pre-pandemic estimate of $26 trillion. Some data suggests that loyalty programs could help lessen future blows. According to Accenture, loyalty program membership in the U.S. grew at a rate of 26.7% from 2012 to 2014. And one recent survey found that 50% of consumers say their primary reason for joining a loyalty program is to earn rewards on purchases.

Glue offers a platform that attempts to gauge loyalty and facilitate the development of daily, weekly, and monthly engagement plans. It self-runs rewards, coupons, and points systems and provides tools for loyalty and sales growth analysis and reporting. Glue offers purchase and behavior tracking for customer targeting and tailors reward tiers to individual businesses; it can import data from existing customer relationship management software and enable customers to register for loyalty programs on their smartphones.

Glue supports loyalty strategies such as points-earning systems, coupons, loyalty cards, subscriptions, prepaid multi-passes, and play-to-win games. Customers can use it to schedule holiday and special occasions greetings, launch Google Ads growth campaigns, or encourage walk-ins with geofencing campaigns.

After completing a 15-minute onboarding questionnaire on Glue’s website, business owners receive a branded members club and a projection of savings. Glue claims its programs are customized by leveraging businesses’ customer data and pairing them with data points from 100,000 organizations, resulting in what the company calls an average savings of between $15,000 to $20,000 per small business and significant revenue growth.

“Acquiring new customers is anywhere between 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining them, yet local businesses don’t have the time nor the expertise on how to do it,” Glue cofounder and CEO Ira Nachtigal told VentureBeat via email. “This funding will help us solve that challenge by providing powerful and customized loyalty tools that are entirely automated. Local businesses can stay focused on the day to day, while we make the process of keeping customers coming back effortless.”

Glue has a number of competitors in the space. There’s AppCard, a mobile-first loyalty marketing program for small and medium-size retailers, as well as Punchh, a startup leveraging machine learning and omnichannel integrations to create customer journeys. Just last year, Drop, a coalition customer loyalty company headquartered in Toronto, raised $44 million. That’s all to say that Glue will have to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack, but this latest funding round suggests that it’s had success in that respect.

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