January 18, 2012
You have got to love a startup that is named after a pet…wait for it…wombat.
Womply Founder and CEO Toby Scammell lived in Australia for 5 years, and during that time, Womply (the pet) lived in their backyard. They didn’t so much take care of it as live alongside it. “We went out and said hi every once in a while, but we didn’t put it on a leash and take it for walk or anything.”
Womply the company has nothing to do with Womply the wombat – or pets. The company’s first product, Loyalty Cloud, is actually a super simple loyalty solution for small businesses. And I do mean simple: merchants decide on an incentive for their customers. Customers pay the merchant just like they normally would with their credit or debit cards. Womply does the rest: track customer progress toward rewards, push them credits, and measure performance to the dollar for merchants.
Launched just 6 weeks ago, Scammell told me things are going really well so far. “In general, merchants have been hammered by the Groupons and LivingSocials of the world, all eager for them to find new customers, but no one approaches them about retaining current customers and leveraging a relationship that is already there.”
As Scammell found, if you are a bar, restaurant, or retailer, you are most likely open to the concept of a loyalty program, but there are operational and cost barriers to setting one up. “There are employee and customer fraud issues; you have to integrate the program with your POS system; staff needs to be trained on using it, and then you need to keep track of issuing rewards. With our system, you don’t need to do any of that – there are no operational costs, and we can work with any hardware, software, POS system or merchant bank.”
I asked if merchants can choose the incentives they offer. Scammell said they have a lot of data about loyalty and how often customers visit merchants (and the types of merchants they visit). They combined that information with levels of spending to create a sort-of menu. Merchants can choose the level of spending and number of visits to semi-customize their offers.
Womply currently has 150 merchants in DC, extending from fine dining to fast casual sandwich shops and into bars and nightlife. They have merchants lined up in 7-8 other cities and will be launching those markets within the next 30 days. The system is not expensive either – the monthly subscription fee is $100 (for most merchants) per location, and you get a free month trial in general. After signing up, the Womply team will have the system running within 7 days.
They were founded in April 2011, and they do have funding – $1.2M from angels in Silicon Valley, where they are headquartered. Their team numbers 18-20 people now, and they are hiring. Wombats need not apply.
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