LivingSocial – which has played Avis to Groupon’s Hertz in the prepaid space – has been in retrench mode under new CEO Gautam Thakar. Today, it announced a new Card Linked Offer (CLO) loyalty program for restaurants called Restaurants Plus. The program is launching in Atlanta with 100 restaurants, to be followed up with a launch “very soon’ in Washington D.C., where LS is headquartered.
Under the program, which has echoes of LivingSocial’s groundbreaking “Walk In” mobile deals in 2011, restaurants decide when they want to promote a special, and how much they want to discount (up to 30 percent). They can change the offer throughout the day. For instance, they can discount more heavily after dinner. As with other CLO providers, the idea is to do away with vouchers and coupons. Once customers register a credit or debit card, they only need to present the card to receive a discount.
Customers can use LivingSocial’s mobile Web or desktop app to access the Restaurants Plus directory, which also displays the savings and times that restaurants are offering cash back. A minimum amount of cash back must be reached, or the savings roll over into the next month. Here is a video about the program.
Restaurants in Atlanta’s program range from cafes and ice cream shops to breweries and full-service They include Campagnolo, Corner Pizza, Gekko Sushi and Lounge, Gordon Biersch (Buckhead), Henry’s Midtown Tavern, Meehan’s Public House and Murphy’s Atlanta Restaurant.
Speaking at the Cardlinx “Data Driven Commerce” event on Sept. 22 in Bellevue,WA, CRO Doug Miller noted that “the opportunity to do something with cardlinking and media is powerful” — especially at the local level. “The sexiest place for that is local. You can influence the local decision. A lot of money is being spent in the local space.” In LivingSocial’s analysis, card linked offers brings it closer to several attribution points, including “premium merchants,” “approachable sophisticates,” “discover my city,” and “saves me money.”