FreebeeCards, an Iowa based startup, offers merchants a surprisingly strong option 'straight out the door'. The company is launching with a strong mix of communication, data gathering, rewards and gamification tools to balance strong incentives with merchant empowerment. We highlight this company because it represents a strong alternative to daily deals, which have become a pervasive yet flawed tool in the arsenal of smaller merchants.
Unlike daily deals, which use high discounts to generate PR buzz, FreebeeCards doesn't 'give away the farm' to generate visibliity. It leverages gamification (in the form of variable valued mystery incentive cards) and immediately puts a lot of power in the hands of the merchant. That power comes in the form of strong customer behavior data, the ability to generate targeted messaging campaigns and all the benefits of a virtual gift card (ranging from reduced adminstrative costs to real time usage data).
The inclusion of a digital tablet in the startup kit suggests that FreebeeCards 'gets it' -- that merchants are looking to be empowered in their interactions with prospects and customers. The anywhere-anytime access that a tablet gives to a merchant lets them experience that empowerment 24/7 (if they want to) by tracking the success of programs and gaining ever increasing insights in to customer behavior.
The contrast to daily deals is clear -- empowerment while creating incentives for new customers is clearly the better option.