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Front Flip app to reach 1 million consumers this year

Updated: 2013-07-17T03:01:40Z

By MARK DAVIS

The Kansas City Star

Front Flip, a Leawood company that helps retailers reward customers through their smartphones, expects to reach 1 million mobile users this year.

The company’s clients interact with 650,000 consumers through Front Flip’s app at more than 2,000 retail sites, chief executive officer Sean Beckner said. He co-founded Front Flip in November 2011 as a loyalty marketing app.

Front Flip’s app rewards customers on site at shops and restaurants, for example, with an instant discount coupon or freebie. And it allows retailers to send customers such gifts to spark future visits or to reward frequent visits. Retailers also can allow customers to share their gifts.

Beckner said, “You can win prizes. You are sending gifts. Your friends are influencing you. So there’s a lot of different things that help drive you back in.”

Last week, Front Flip said it added 142 Ponderosa and Bonanza restaurants to its retail site count. The restaurants are run by Homestyle Dining LLC of Plano, Texas.

Homestyle hopes the app will increase the frequency of its customers’ visits, boost beverage and barbecue sales and attract younger diners, who tend to be more active cellphone users.

Front Flip’s app uses those squared bar codes, which are called QR codes, posted at each booth or table in a restaurant, or at several locations in a retail shop.

The customer, having downloaded the Front Flip app, scans the code. A possible prize pops up on the smartphone’s screen but is hidden until the user rubs the screen like a scratch-off ticket, though gently.

Not every scan is a winner, but the customer, or at least his smartphone, can try again the next day.

Retailers may offer chances at a big prize, or the more routine discounts and free offers that are good for that visit. The rewards that retailers send out may be good for 30 days, giving the shopper or diner time to drop in.

Front Flip and the retailers get enough information about the customers to identify them and track when they come in and scan.

The app collects your name, sex, birth date, ZIP code and permission to send notifications to your phone. Users also can sign in through Facebook, which adds their profile picture.

Front Flip’s system allows retailers to analyze the data of customers who scan, tracking how often an individual visits as well as patterns among various age groups, days of the week, and other factors. The idea is to use that data for sending gifts to boost loyalty and reward it among customers.

Beckner said there’s about a 50-50 chance of winning “something,” and Front Flip’s system lets retailers send rewards to their “most unlucky” scanners.

Front Flip has 55 employees, mostly in Leawood, and has raised $7.7 million in funding from local investors.

In addition to running the loyalty marketing app, Front Flip recently built a loyalty app for Bud Light. It’s putting the QR code on the cartons, with the prizes redeemed from a code inside the box.

“It’s already the most downloaded mobile app for Anheuser-Busch,” he said.

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