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Local marketing has moved beyond a sole focus on new customer acquisition to also focus on customer loyalty and engagement. Using credit card registration and point-of-sale integration techniques, leaders in the space have found new ways to engage with millions of local customers and merchants.On the final day at BIA/Kelsey‘s Leading in Local: Interactive Local Media conference, a panel of industry leaders were brought together to discuss how transaction marketing is changing the way SMBs relate to their customer base.

One major trend that was discussed heavily was point-of-sales systems. Bringing all of the “big data” that SMBs acquire and making that information manageable and useful is where the future of transaction marketing is headed. Victor Ho, CEO of FiveStars, recognized the opportunity for POS systems in the SMB market and jumped on the opportunity. “All systems are integrated on a point-of-sale. When we looked at the market we decided there was an opportunity here. We then created a platform that worked through any POS.”

FiveStars‘ quick jump into the market proved to be the right move. The company now has just under 3 million memberships.

Panelists also discussed the development of the transaction marketing space. According to Jason Dailey, Senior Director at Microsoft Bing, “mobile devices and electronic wallets are going to be one of the next biggest things.” Looking at the broader perspective, Eckart Walther, CEO of CardSpring predicts that we will be seeing “more and more online companies capture online data.The levels of interest in transaction marketing are going up exponentially.”

With all of the new interests and innovation in the transaction marketing area, Albert S. Bitton, Founder and President of Local Commerce Association of Canada warns against SMBs becoming overwhelmed with all of the different products the industry now has to offer them. “The expectation of the industry is way too high. They have a lot they need to deal with and there are too many applications that small businesses will want to manage but they can’t. This is why I am excited about companies like Groupon and FiveStars because everything is integrated”.


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