Qbot Markets At Colleges To Foster Growth

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Mar. 24, 2014 12:00 am  

Little Rock’s homegrown Qbot app has had its ups and downs, but the customer loyalty program has successfully used colleges as marketing bases to spread its network.

The Android and iPhone app endeavors to replace individual loyalty programs — usually represented by punched or stamped paper cards — with a single system that users can access with their smartphones.

Sheena Howell, the company’s director of marketing, said the app now has 185,000 users, more than twice the 92,000 it had in March 2013.

“We’ve gotten about half a million loyalty scans since we’ve started up,” Howell said. “We have a quarter million total rewards redeemed through our app.”

CIO Heath Lehman said the user count was “above target,” and that means the app is closer to expanding to a national model.

The app is free for users. Qbot makes money through its client businesses, which pay a one-time $199 to $299 fee for setup, then continue to pay $79 to $149 per month for the service.

Qbot employs 10 full-time workers and up to 10 additional part-time paid interns, Lehman said. Lehman declined to release revenue figures, but said the company is profitable in the sense that “we don’t spend more than we make.”

Campus-to-Business

Qbot is now available in 50 to 60 cities, most of them in Arkansas, Howell said.

“We want to double that in the next 12 months, focusing on major markets,” she said.

Its rising user base is thanks to a marketing model that relies on spreading the apps use from college campuses to surrounding businesses.

Qbot has a contract with Sodexo, a French company that provides food service to many universities. Students can use Qbot loyalty programs at 50 Sodexo campuses, Howell said. Some of these include the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Arkansas State University in Jonesboro and Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

 

 

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