If you’ve ever bypassed a business in favour of one that offers Aeroplan or Air Miles, you know how strong the lure of customer loyalty programs can be. Once the realm of large businesses, a new platform aims to bring loyalty programs into the world of smaller retailers.

Launched this week by Rogers Communications, Vicinity Rewards is a new loyalty and automation platform geared toward the small and medium-sized business (SMB) space that allows smaller retailers to create and deploy customized loyalty programs for their customers to drive repeat business.

“Small businesses across Canada are looking for cost effective, turn-key solutions to drive growth in their business and establish meaningful customer relationships,” said Fiona Lake Waslander, general manager of Vicinity, in a statement. “Vicinity integrates easily into businesses, providing a simple platform to drive return traffic and increase customer lifetime value while encouraging residents to support local businesses.”

Powering Vicinity is a loyalty automation platform developed by a U.S. vendor, FiveStars, that integrates with the retailer’s point of sale system. It allows retailers to build cloud-based customer databases, generate automated targeted offers and customer communications and access professional reporting tools and dashboards.

Customers don’t need to hold cards for every small business; they can register for a Vicinity loyalty rewards card and use it at all participating retailers. Users can access their profiles via an Android or iPhone app, and businesses can offer targeted promotions for both earning and redemption.

“We know that Canadian small businesses are starved for affordable digital solutions that make it easy to connect with consumers and grow their business. The launch of Vicinity marks another milestone for our overall local digital portfolio,” said Nyla Ahmad, vice-president of local digital for Rogers, in a statement. “Vicinity joins Outrank and Zoocasa as part of our growing suite of local digital services that leverage intelligent technology platforms to efficiently bring buyers and sellers together at the local level.”

Vicinity is available in Toronto now, and Rogers will roll it out to other Canadian cities in the coming months.

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