Cincinnati second test market for Stampt

Frequent patrons of popular downtown locations like Iris Book Café and sustainable merchant Park+Vine can spend less time rummaging through their wallets at the checkout counter. That's because these retailers, along with a small but growing list of Cincinnati merchants, now offer iPhone-based loyalty cards through Stampt, a young startup with deep roots in Cincinnati.

Stampt takes the long-time staple of coffeehouses and small shops, the frequent buyer card, and merges it with mobile technology. Stampt co-founder and president Trey Kelly says the application's ability to precisely track loyalty card use for merchants and its ability to help consumers find and patronize nearby Stampt merchants take the app far beyond the typical "buy 10, get the 11th free" loyalty stamp cards merchants have used for years.

"Merchants in Cincinnati can benefit from customer interactions and insights that were never before available," he says. "They can finally know the effect of their loyalty programs and can interact with their customers."

"All of these georeference apps are so useful for small business districts," says Stampt Cincinnati sales representative David White, noting that he's focused so far on neighborhoods with walkable retail centers, such as Over-the-Rhine and Northside.

Although Stampt is based in San Francisco, co-founders Brian Kelly and Trey Kelly hail from Cincinnati. White (Brian Kelly's brother-in-law) says there was little doubt of location when the company went looking for a second test market to complement its research in San Francisco.

"They thought Cincinnati would be perfect," White says. "It gives you two completely different markets."

So far, he notes, about 10 Cincinnati merchants are using Stampt. The app is gaining footholds in other cities where its founders have connections, and White says he's optimistic it will take off as word about it spreads. It's a free service for both consumers and merchants, after all, and heavy frequent shoppers only have so much room in their wallets and purses for loyalty cards.

"I think once merchants see the press, and the people coming in and asking for the product, it will turn on for them," White says.

By Matt Cunningham

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