Unata launches FreshPoints

The Aimia-backed mobile app rewards consumers for product reviews and ratings.

New mobile rewards program Fresh Points launches at the end of the month, and it will offer Canadians a new way of earning in-store points through an app.

FreshPoints, a project by Toronto-based tech company Unata, is financially backed by Aimia, the folks behind Areoplan, and dishes out points every time someone scans a product’s barcode – regardless of whether it has been purchased or not. Points are redeemed for rewards, such as gift certificates to Subway, Cineplex and Air Canada, much the way Aeroplan’s non-flight point redemption works, but the two systems won’t be tied together. The app will be promoted through social media, supplier partnerships and member referrals.

Conceivably, people could scan every product in a store to gain points without purchase, but that won’t add up to much. The real meat and potatoes of the program comes from the bonus points people get when they write reviews, rate the products and (eventually) share with friends over social media, says Chris Bryson, CEO, Unata. Unlike retailer-specific reward programs, this system encourages consumers to digitally participate with the brand itself.

“What’s different about this loyalty program is we’re rewarding customers for having a voice,” he says.

While social media sharing isn’t yet in place, he says they hope to have it available for the next phase of development, adding there will also be opportunities for brands, which Unata is actively pursuing, to offer bonus points for specific products that it wants to increase digital engagement with.

For example, he says, if a brand wanted to launch a new product, it could offer bonus points through FreshPoints in exchange for early reviews and ratings to see how the product fares on the market. No brands have signed on to partner with Fresh Points, but many have expressed an interest in seeing the success rate of the app, he says.

“It’s a great way to gain insights into how people are relating to their product,” he says.

Right now, the app is only available for download on iOS devices, but he says they have plans to role this out to Android phones in the near future.