ION Loyalty Rewards and Small Business Saturday
This week I got to sit down with another pair of movers and shakers in the technology and payment processing/ merchant services space in Atlanta. William Mills of William Mills Agency introduced us to Ronald Herman, founder of Sionic Mobile. We talked about the cool app the company has developed that gives merchants an elegant way to incentivize their customers to keep coming back to patronize their business. The Loyalty app is designed in such a way that as customers spend money they earn “ions” they can then redeem at any participating merchant. I also spoke with Terri Dennison, Georgia District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) about the upcoming Small Business Saturday and Small Business Saturday Night this coming November 29th.
The William Mills Agency has been in the Atlanta area for over 35 years, providing a suite of PR services, with a heavy focus on the financial services/payment processing technology sector. The company provides public relations, crisis management, brand awareness/marketing strategy, and content marketing. The William Mills Agency leadership team is heavily involved in the TAG FinTech Society. FinTech is a group of professionals representing a broad range of financial technologies as well as a variety of roles within the industry, including executive management, solution specialists, sales and marketing, industry entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. William has worked with 500-600+ innovative technology companies. Even so, he was particularly intrigued by the model put forth by Ron Herman and his team at Sionic Mobile; so much so he became a member of the advisory board for the company.
Midtown Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile markets to smartphone consumers and rewards them for every mobile checkout. The mCommerce company utilizes mobile devices, Bluetooth® beacons and the cloud to connect merchants with nearby, ready-to-spend consumers. The company is the maker and provider of ION — the first, fully digital mobile promotions, gift cards, payments and rewards apps for phones and tablets. Merchants use ION Loyalty® to increase traffic, sales & margins, reduce credit card fees and get good customers back more often. Users of the ION Consumers use ION Rewards® to earn IONs at every checkout, then spend them like cash on anything at any time at nearly 40,000 retail locations nationwide. The free apps support iOS and most Android devices.
The Small Business Administration provides a host of services designed to enhance the likelihood of success for small businesses in the US. Their overarching goal is to increase available jobs through helping small businesses (who make up >50% of US business commerce) grow. I got to speak with Terri Dennison of the Small Business Administration about their initiative to support small businesses through the Small Business Saturday campaign, aimed at encouraging US consumers to include local small business retailers in their holiday shopping. SBA encourages America to support local economies shopping small on November 29th. At the SBA, they know small businesses are vital to the growth and prosperity of the American economy. Since the recession, small businesses have created two out of three new private sector jobs… these firms are largely responsible for America’s 10.3 million new jobs that have led to 56 straight months of job growth. Accelerating our recovery means creating the right environment and implementing the best policies for small businesses to thrive. The entrepreneurs the SBA works with face many challenges, but among the greatest is getting new customers in the door. That’s why the SBA is proud to be part of Small Business Saturday – it’s a perfect time to promote your business and find new customers. On November 29th, millions of consumers across the country will participate in Small Business Saturday. More than 70 percent of Americans are now aware that two days after Thanksgiving is a day devoted to shopping small. Last year, nearly half of all consumers who knew about Small Business Saturday…. acted on it … spending an estimated $5.7 billion dollars at local merchants across the nation. So we want to continue this momentum… And we’re asking you to help us promote the message that Small Business Saturday is day when buying gifts for the people we love … supports jobs and prosperity in the communities we call home.
We all have a stake in seeing foot traffic increase on Main Street. We want to encourage shoppers to seek out unique, handmade gifts they won’t find at a big-box retailer. And we want to see Internet traffic spike, too, with purchases of “gifts to ship” – and gift certificates from restaurants and service providers. Everyone can spread the word about Small Business Saturday by recommending their favorite local shops and restaurants via Facebook and Twitter. The SBA is helping to spearhead an effort this Nov. 29 to extend the hours, so to speak, by promoting Small Business Saturday Night. We know many of our small businesses are local restaurants and food purveyors…After a busy day of shopping, we want to encourage consumers to patronize their local small business restaurants and favorite watering holes. The SBA is partnering this year with the National Restaurant Association to encourage families who are shopping small to “dine small” at local restaurants Saturday night. Additionally, we’re encouraging small business merchants to extend their hours so they can take advantage increased nighttime foot traffic on Small Business Saturday Night. So I hope we can create some synergy in this effort to keep Small Business Saturday going when the sun goes down. To help in your preparations, I want to direct you to sba.gov/SmallBusinessSaturday where we have holiday marketing tips, ideas and materials … even for entrepreneurs on a limited budget. And use our hashtags on Twitter: #SmallBizSaturday for Small Business Saturday and #DineSmall for Small Business Saturday Night.
William Mills, Owner of William Mills Agency
- BA Communications, Florida State University
- Member, Executive Committee of Florida State University College of Communications & Information’s Advisory board
- Has been quoted as an expert for Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Entrepreneur
- Contributor for numerous publications
Ron Herman, CEO of SionicMobile
- Founder and Former CEO, Urban Informatics Corporation
- >19 years of Executive Leadership roles in Technology Start-up to Fortune 500 Companies
- Former CEO, Intellione Technologies
Terri Dennsion, District Director, US Small Business Administration Georgia District Office
- Former Deputy District Director, US Small Business Administration Indiana District Office
- MA Urban Studies, Trinity University
- Recipient: Atlanta Business League 100 Most Influential Black Women, 2006-2008
- Atlanta Business Chronicle 100 Top Professionals in Banking and Finance, 2007-2011