Card Rewards Consumers for Buying Locally 10/25/2010 9:09:58 AM

Large businesses have extensive marketing tools at their disposal. One used extensively is the rewards card. They offer user-friendly incentives while precisely tracking buying habits. But because of the high technology costs associated with them, the benefits of the electronic rewards card hasn't yet infiltrated small business.

Now a  service that not only helps businesses, but also gives a boost to consumers is available. No more carrying around a wad of punch cards. No need to track who has what deal. No need to guess when your card will be filled so you can get the discount. Instead, it's one card, one swipe, and good for all.

Now in testing, Supportland has developed a rewards card that works at any of the company's network of some 50 locally owned Portland-area businesses. Using the free card, consumers are rewarded with points every time they make a purchase at one of those business. Those points, in turn, can be used toward the purchase of specific products or services at any participating businesses. Locally owned Poppy Massage, for instance, offers a one-hour massage for every 500 points earned at any business or businesses in the Supportland network.

Following its official Portland launch in January, Supportland hopes to expand across the US, with points transferable among regions ó the entire infrastructure has been packaged, in fact, so that it can be completely re-branded wherever itís implemented, the company says. An iPhone app, meanwhile, is also in the works.

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