When even a payment-processing company admits that the idea of payment processing is a pain in the side of most local merchants, it’s hard to deny that credit card processing may need some changes. And Swipely is ready to make them.
The purpose behind the company, founder and CEO Angus Davis says, is to help local merchants find success by accepting payments, better understanding their customers, and growing their sales.
Every year in the U.S., Davis says, merchants spend more than $65 billion in credit card processing fees. “But what do they actually get for that? Not much,” he says. “With Swipely, it’s a completely new way to get value from that investment, but it doesn’t require anything new in the store, in terms of you don’t have to buy new hardware, new software.
“With Swipely, we have a new way to actually think about that, where you can actually transform that expense—that necessary evil cost of doing business—into a valuable marketing investment to help you grow,” Davis says.
Swipely, he adds, serves as a replacement for merchants’ legacy payment-processing systems. And because it works in the cloud, Swipely is able to integrate with more than 100 major point-of-sale systems, such as Micros, Aloha, and POSitouch.
“We offer it completely in the cloud, and we’re able to actually not only accept payments, … but also help our local merchants crunch the big data behind all of those transactions and provide them with the same type of the valuable analytics and dashboards that online merchants use.”
Swipely also provides its merchants—two-thirds of which are restaurants—with marketing tools that help them turn insights into action in order to grow sales, Davis says.
“Those local merchants are able to keep the existing systems they have, keep the training of their staff that they have in place, and when they upgrade to Swipely, they get all the additional benefits that Swipely offers, on top of accepting payments,” Davis says.
These benefits include detailed analytics—such as what percentage of sales is coming from new versus repeat customers—marketing, loyalty programs, and more. “We can even show you how things like the weather might impact your sales going up or down,” Davis says.
“We even have a feature that shows you a list of who your best customers are, … sorted by how frequently they come in or how much they spend,” he adds. “These types of things are actually pretty basic when it comes to e-commerce, but when it comes to offline merchants like a restaurant, it’s actually pretty ground-breaking.”
Operators can also tap into the data behind each transaction, Davis says, to see who their customers are, how they’re spending, whether they’re online, and more. “It doesn’t require being a technology nerd or spending a lot of money or ripping and replacing your in-store technology,” he says of Swipely. “It’s a simple upgrade in the cloud that helps you now get a lot more value without actually costing any more money.”
The company can even help restaurants manage their online reputation, aggregating reviews from social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, OpenTable, and more.
Because many local merchants already have a relationship with a technology partner—whether it’s a POS provider or an online marketing expert—Swipely has created the Swipely Partner Network to connect with experts in an added effort to help local restaurants succeed.
“With this partner program, we’re actually able to accelerate our growth because without it, we are limited by how many sales people we have in-house,” Davis says, adding that more than 50 companies have already joined the network. “But now with the partner program, we’re … working with more and more merchants through these partners.”
Since entering the payments space one year ago, Swipely has already reached $1 billion in annual sales, thanks to its partnership with quick serves like Fresh To Order in Atlanta and Elevation Burger on the East Coast and in the Midwest.
Davis says many of the company’s quick-service customers place a priority on reducing costs, increasing sales, and saving time. “The No. 1 thing we can do for our customers is we help them save time using our tools,” he says. “For a lot of reasons, the quick-serve customers are a really great fit for us at Swipely.”
Over the next few months, the company will be rolling out additional marketing tools for its customers, which will allow them to do even more with the data Swipely provides.
“Looking out over the next year or two, we see a convergence between payments and online marketing and in-store technology,” Davis says. “That convergence is exciting, but it’s also challenging and scary to our merchant customers, because it’s just so much disruption and change. So we look at the opportunity we have in front of us that, ‘Hey, we can help them make that transition.’”
By Mary Avant