Combustion, a Detroit marketing technology firm, is offering its digital gift card platform, Loop, at no cost during the economic fallout from the pandemic.
Loop connects companies with hospitals and other essential institutions seeking help, so when customers buy from a company using Loop, they can donate their purchase to a hospital or other recipient of their choice. It’s a revenue model an increasing number of businesses are using to weather the COVID-19 storm, according to the company.
“Right now, companies need customers,” says Sefi Grossman, co-founder and CEO of Combustion. “Health care and other essential workers need companies. And consumers are looking for a way to help. This closes the Loop among all three.”
Businesses of any size can quickly create a branded website that allows customers to buy digital gift cards from them, then opens a dropdown menu that gives them the option to spend that gift card on recipients of their choice, whether a specific hospital or other essential institution or a general fund. Loop also enables opt ins for further communications to customers by text or email.
Combustion client PizzaPapalis was the first to take advantage of Loop’s new functionality, using it to power a program called The Pizza Pledge, in which the Detroit brand provides a free pizza to health care workers for every four purchased by customers. PizzaPapalis owner and founder Joe Sheena is expanding the program by calling on all of Michigan’s pizza community to join the pledge.
“I woke up one day at 5 in the morning,” says Sheena. “I was thinking about a conversation I had with my son, who is an anesthesiologist in New Orleans. He said, ‘Dad, I’m working 15-16 hours a day. I come home, exhausted, depressed, there’s nothing in the fridge.’ To me, all of these people working in health care right now are Gabe, my son.”
“Gift cards and customer loyalty is something we’ve been doing for quite a while, but we just felt we needed to pivot for the frontline health workers in the face of what’s happening to one of our restaurant clients’ business,” says Grossman. “Building it to shift to essential service donations and offering the tool at no cost for small businesses is our effort to try to do our part in keeping the small businesses we love running, and also trying to make sure the true heroes in hospitals that will pull us through are fed without having to worry about it.”
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