Swipely sees growth, adds to core team

SWIPELY’S loyalty program for local merchants has grown to about 20,000 registered users and 100 Rhode Island merchants.
Posted 9/21/11

PROVIDENCE – Swipely, which launched its loyalty program in February, announced three additions to its leadership team.

The startup has added about 20,000 registered users and increased its initial 75 Rhode Island participating merchants to about 100 at more than 500 locations statewide.

The company plans to announce expansion in new geographic areas this fall. It is currently building the merchant base in those areas.

“Our merchant partners have been very excited about what they’ve been able to see in terms of sales growth. Some of our partners are seeing sales increases of roughly $35,000 annually and purchasing gains of 20 percent frequency growth for their top customers – so they’re really excited,” said Bari Harlam, who joined Swipely as the chief marketing officer.

“Bringing loyalty marketing to Main Street is powerful and gratifying. Swipely empowers local merchants to grow revenue by bringing customers back with a personalized loyalty program. Until now, these tools were out of reach for smaller retailers constrained by time, technology and cost,” Harlam said.

Harlam came from CVS Caremark Corp., where she oversaw the launch of the company’s ExtraCare loyalty program – which, she says, is the largest retail loyalty program in the world, with more than 60 million active members.

Harlam said Nick’s on Broadway, Haruki and Wildflour are some of the local restaurants that have seen “good results” from using Swipely.

The biggest challenge for the company has been communicating the difference between Swipely and daily deals sites like Groupon to consumers, she said.

“We don’t view Groupon as our competitor,” Harlam said. “Our program isn’t necessarily [about] acquiring new customers - and spending a lot money to do so - but rather investing in growing your best customers.”

The other two additions to the Swipely team are:

Joe Pignato is the new chief financial officer, with more than 2 decades of financial experience, including leadership roles at venture capital funds with more than $3 billion under management, including Prism Ventures and Charles River Ventures.

The third addition is Matthew Oley as the vice president of sales. Oley previously was head of sales at online food ordering network Seamless.

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