Culminating what the executive team at the automated customer rewards management service provider FiveStars calls three years of development work, the company is launching its latest feature -- AutoPilot. The new product FiveStars is selling automates the distribution of coupons and discounts based on a customers' previous purchasing behavior at a store. The new feature rolls up and replaces different services that FiveStars used to offer with a single bundled service that retailers use to communicate with customers' mobile devices via SMS, location-based, geo-targeted push notifications, and email. For instance, the store can send alerts or special discounts based on events in a customer's life, like setting foot in the store, celebrating a birthday, follow up recommendations to specific purchases, or even a coupon if a customer hasn't frequented a shop for a certain period of time. The company boasts that it currently is responsible for 1.2 million store check-ins per month through its platform for vendors, a rate that's four times as high as retailers derive from Facebook check-ins. "This has transformed our product offering and will become the core of it," says FiveStars chief executive Victor Ho. "Direct mail and print coupons are still a multi-billion dollar industry and all those things are basically tons of spam." The company remains committed to selling its existing product, but will also pitch AutoPilot as its premium service. "Because of Autopilot, it's basically transformed our business [pricing]," says Ho. "We used to charge $60 a month [on average] because of AutoPilot our average price point is around $199 per month." FiveStars has 5,000 businesses that use its network and roughly 4 million consumer memberships, according to Ho. AutoPilot's share of that is now 1.5 million visits to merchants through that platform, Ho says. The company joins several point of sale systems vying for dominance among small and medium-sized retail businesses, all offering an array of tracking and discounting tools to improve customer service for small and medium-sized businesses.
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