Plink, a Facebook credits-based online-to-offline loyalty program, has officially launched, rewarding customers for dining at their favorite restaurants. Brands that have already jumped on board include Dunkin' Donuts, Quiznos, Taco Bell and Red Robin.
The idea behind Plink came from Facebook games and virtual goods that can be purchased from Facebook credits. However, according to the company, for the offline world, Facebook credits have been missing the opportunity to connect social media to real-world sales.
"Facebook credits is the missing ingredient that's been needed to connect social media to offline sales," said Peter Vogel, co-founder of Plink. "Now with the 'glue' of Facebook Credits our national restaurant and offline retailer partners have a way to tap into the nearly 800 million users on Facebook, motivate them to become loyal customers, and reward them."
Members join at Plink.com through Facebook Connect, then safely and securely register the credit or debit card of their choice, and begin earning Facebook credits by dining-out or making purchases at participating national restaurants and offline retailers.
"Marketing on Facebook is a tremendous opportunity with a highly desirable demographic," said Tim Kraus, digital marketing manager at Quiznos. "Plink is helping us crack the code and reach our customers in an innovative and cost-effective way."
National restaurant chains are the initial focus of Plink as they represent nearly one-third of the total restaurants in the U.S. and spend significant dollars on marketing and advertising. Restaurants, though, do face a number of issues, including stiff competition, difficulty in measuring the results of mass-media campaigns and a desire to avoid couponing or discounts that can devalue a restaurant's brand.
Plink requires no POS integration; no paper coupons to be collected; no staff training; no interruption or slow-down to the normal customer transaction process; no tracking conducted by the restaurant or offline retailer; and no set-up fees, print costs or other merchandise to purchase. Restaurants and offline retailers simply pay Plink a percentage of the sales generated by Plink members.
Plink began acquiring members through advertising efforts earlier this month on Facebook, targeting social gamers, an audience of 60 million players in the U.S.
Read more about social media initiatives.