CHICAGO and IRVING, Texas -- In December, 7-Eleven Inc. will discontinue the Belly iPad-based rewards program at its convenience stores.
Belly Inc. issued the following statement to alert users:
“7-Eleven is transitioning to a new rewards program in December. Stop by 7-Eleven and redeem your Belly Points as soon as you can—Nov. 30, 2016, is the last day.
“Although that shiny iPad is going away, loyalty and rewards will continue with 7Rewards and Belly. Download the 7-Eleven app now to get started with 7Rewards and take advantage of Free Coffee Week, Oct. 3-9, 2016.
“Continue to use your BellyCard or app at your favorite businesses for rewards you love. Click the link below to find places near you. Thanks for being a loyal Belly member.”
Founded in 2011, Chicago-based Belly, which allows small businesses to offer digital rewards to customers, received funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Lightbank, NEA, DAG Ventures, Cisco and 7-Eleven subsidiary 7-Ventures LLC.
Belly supplies brick-and-mortar merchants with a dedicated iPad, typically set up at the cash register. Consumers get a Belly card, available in physical form or via a mobile device. The iPad scans the card, and customers receive points for their visits and can redeem those points for rewards determined by the individual merchant.
7-Eleven began piloting Belly in April 2013 at 85 of its c-stores in Chicago; it expanded the pilot to 350 locations across Chicago; Austin, Texas; and Los Angeles. In August 2014, it rolled the program out to more than 2,000 locations in the Northeast, Austin, Los Angeles, Chicago and Vancouver.
Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven declined to offer specifics on why the c-store chain is ending acceptance of the Belly program or to offer details on any new or enhanced program it may be planning to implement.
“Although 7Rewards is evolving and the iPad is going away, we are confident that our customers will continue to enjoy loyalty and rewards through the 7Rewards program,” 7-Eleven spokesperson Keith Jones said in a statement provided to CSP Daily News. “Participation in the 7Rewards program is easy through the 7-Eleven smartphone app, available in the iTunes App Store or Google Play. Customers should stop by 7-Eleven and redeem their remaining Belly Points by their expiration on Nov. 30, 2016. ”
Belly and 7-Eleven will continue to work together in some capacity, however.
“Belly continues our partnership with 7-Eleven in a capacity that better aligns with both of our long-term goals,” Belly spokesperson Lauren Licata told The Chicago Tribune. “We have not yet publicly announced the next phase of our relationship.”
Ken Patel, president of the 7-Eleven Franchise Owners Association of Chicagoland, said that its 300 member c-stores will shift to using only 7Rewards, the loyalty app 7-Eleven launched in March 2014.
“We are moving toward exclusive 7-Rewards,” he told the newspaper. “Belly has been a great partner, but dual loyalty systems are complex and confusing to our customers and our stores. We appreciate their partnership and efforts, but that the corporate team has decided to go another direction.”
In September, Belly rolled out Blue, a configurable, omnichannel loyalty platform that allows retailers to create unified experiences in-store, on mobile and online in real time.