D'mai Urban Spa in Brooklyn, N.Y. loves rainy days because it sees more customers when the weather is dreary. The Park Slope shop gleaned the information from Swipely's technology, which collects data on every customer that swipes a card in the spa.
Not only does Swipely aggregate data on the weather's effect on sales, it also grabs data from customers' posts on Facebook and other social media sites. Swipely also notes the time of each visit, the specific transaction amount and the consumer's average spending amount.
Swipely wasn't always merchant-focused. The company launched in May 2010 as a consumer-facing dashboard that allowed users to link their credit cards to social media sites. This allowed consumers to broadcast their purchases to friends and family.
Pairing transaction data with social data is a growing trend in the payments industry, as merchants see benefits in coupling consumers' interests with their purchasing habits. Moxie Software Inc. recently created the Engage+ app, aggregating data and alerting companies when users that might be interested in their brand sign in. Plus the app allows brands to access user profiles to send personalized targeted offers.
With a series of updates announced last week, Swipely says it offers merchants better analytics, more data and faster deposits.
Founding Farmers, a restaurant in Washington, D.C., began using Swipely in October.
"The customer really has a million choices so we're trying to stay at the forefront of what those customers want," says Nathan Fegley, director of finance for Founding Farmers.
The customer relationship management tool will help the restaurant keep consumers returning to the business, he says.
Swipely's earlier, consumer-facing service resembled that of Blippy, which in 2010 suffered a glitch that exposed users' credit card data. This breach raised questions about privacy for consumers. Swipely vowed not to include users' account numbers and other sensitive data, plus the company would not specify the amount paid for items purchased. After its launch, a Swipely representative said the company is protecting consumer's information with "bank-grade encryption."
Early last year, Swipely switched its business plan to instead sell its marketing tools to merchants. Six months ago, the company integrated directly with the payments networks.
"We really don't like to focus on looking back," says Elizabeth Ducoff, senior manager of public relations and marketing at Swipely.
Today Swipely has half a million customers with a quarter of a billion dollars flowing across the platform annually, Ducoff says. Seventy percent of Swipely's clients are restaurants.
Because these merchants make 70% of their revenue through credit and debit transactions, they "are most poised to benefit from our solutions," she says.
Swipely recently began participating in the American Express OnePoint program, which allows it to offer next-day settlement of payments instead of waiting three days.
Local 121, a restaurant in downtown Providence, R.I., where Swipely is based, uses its service.
"It was remarkable, without a hitch and the money is deposited into our account without delay," says Nancy Miller, proprietor of Local 121.