Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Review of the Belly App: A Great Way to Earn Loyalty Rewards

If you are like me, there are a few restaurants and businesses that you go to frequently where you live. To reward customers for their patronage and to get them to come back more, many food establishments have their own loyalty rewards programs. This typically provides basic deals such as “buy six sandwiches and get one free” or “buy six coffees and get one free.”

The problem with these sorts of loyalty programs is that they each require you to carry a separate loyalty card around with you and it is typically the same reward every time. What if you could consolidate multiple loyalty reward programs in a single place, with no need to carry around any cards (just use your smart phone), with better rewards dependent on how much you spend?

Enter Belly, a convenient app for your smart phone that helps you accomplish all of the above and more. I first became aware of Belly at a local pizzeria I regularly frequent. Belly works on an iPad that is kept by the cash register such as the one you see below.

Once you sign up (which can be done quickly and for free) on the Belly website or via the Belly app, all you have to do is tap the iPad where it says “Tap to Belly.” Then just scan the square quick response (QR) code from your Belly app onto the screen and it automatically adds points to your account for each visit.

At the restaurant I go to, you get 5 points for each visit. Here is an example of the reward system they use:

15 points: Free fountain soda
25 points: Free topping on a pizza
35 points: Free canoli
40 points: Free slice of pizza
60 points: Free jar of homemade pasta sauce (value $ 4.95)
100 points: Free large pie
200 points: Free entre
300 points:  Dining for two in the restaurant dining room (up to $50).

I started a few months ago and am already up to 85 points. I am waiting to get to 300 points so I can get that $50.00 meal. The points add up pretty fast and it works at making me want to go back there for a slice of pizza or a sub as opposed to somewhere else.

Another cool feature of the app is that it uses a GPS locator to find other stores in your area that use the Belly program. This is provided in map format or you can find a listing of nearby locations.  Each location is listed by a balloon, like this:

Just click the balloon and you are provided with all of the information on the location as well as the reward features. Within 50 miles of my house, there are 10 businesses that use the Belly program, 8 of which are restaurants, one of which is a bowling alley, and another of which is a boutique. Seven of these places are within 13 miles of my house. In more populated areas, I believe you would find many more participating programs. Belly has only been around since 2011 so the fact that they are in as many locations as they are is impressive but they do need to keep working on greater distribution.

The app itself is very easy to use. As soon as you open it, it brings you to the QR code to scan into the iPad. I like this because you don’t need to worry about searching for the scanning code when you are in line. I have never encountered any problems with the code scanning instantly. On the bottom right of the app (as you can see above), there is an icon shaped like a person which you can press to bring you to the “My Stuff section.” This personally organizes all of the locations you have visited, tells you your point totals, and lists the reward features at each location. On the bottom left is a little balloon icon which tells you can press to tell you what places are nearby. 

If you want to access the GPS map to show you the locations, just click the map icon on the top left of the page.  You can also do this on their website. There is also a gear icon on the top right which allows you to do many features such as contact belly, read the privacy policy, manage notifications, rate the app, etc. Overall, I would highly recommend downloading Belly and using it at some local businesses.

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