Use one card to earn freebies all over town

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A customer loyalty program is popping up all over Houston and rewarding customers with freebies for visiting their favorite businesses. (KTRK)

A customer loyalty program is popping up all over Houston and rewarding customers with freebies for visiting their favorite businesses.

With the Belly program, you can use the same card at all of your favorite spots. When you walk into a participating location, there will be an iPad at the front desk. Simply tap your card or open up the Belly app on your smartphone to start accumulating points.

Each visit to a Belly business will give you a certain number of points that you can redeem for discounts and special offers at those businesses.

"I'm a salon, but businesses range anything from carwash to creperie - just about anything you can think of you can find a Belly card there," said business owner and Belly user Tamika Fletcher said.

Fletcher owns Natural Resource Salon in Rice Village and uses the program to incentivize her clients to keep coming back.

"At Natural Resource, we offer product discounts and head massages. Usually people save their points for the head massages," Fletcher said.

Belly also uses a program called Belly Bites to offer freebies to first-time visitors at various businesses. At Aqua Car Wash in Montrose, they reward their Belly customers with a free car wash during their first visit.

The hope is that those first timers keep visiting Aqua to rack up points for more free car washes.

"The first time you sign up or scan, you get 15 points to start. Every other visit is five. Wednesdays we do double points. Once you hit 50 points, you get a free basic wash," said Aqua's office manager Alana Armstrong.

If you visited Aqua on Wednesdays, it would only take five visits to earn a complimentary car wash.

For business owners, there is a feature on the app that shows just how well Belly works for bringing customers back.

"We have 3,000 customers, 16,000 total visits, and 25 new customers this week - it's only Wednesday," Armstrong said as she glanced at Aqua's report.

Another perk for businesses is that it eliminates the process of keeping up with clients' visits. There are no more punch cards of gift certificates to hand out, as Belly is all digital.

"It keeps track of everything, email addresses as well as the discount. There's really nothing for us to do except watch the customers scan and enjoy their discounts," Fletcher said.

There is no cost to join Belly. To get started, either download the Belly app and enter your email address or visit a participating business and pick up the blue Belly card.

If you don't see your favorite businesses on the Belly list, there are other customer loyalty programs being used in Houston! Perkville is used at several fitness locations, while Shopkick rewards you for checking it at various businesses by giving you gift cards to your favorite places.
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