We've all been there: Faced with a wall of gushingly positive and raving-mad Yelp reviews, you can't help but wonder how social-media active a restaurateur's family or foes might be. While user-generated reviews have become the new, not-always-fail-safe norm in finding local businesses, a Citi Ventures-backed startup is looking at loyalty by the numbers. Side-stepping the emotion and potential bias in reviews Bundle looks at data 20 million Visa and Mastercard aggregate, anonymous credit cards to shows which restaurants, bars and shops ere consumers like to spend their money again and again.
Here's how it works: Bundle determines a "loyalty score" based on the number of repeat purchases, share of customer spending and relative popularity for each business. Only those locales with 25 or more customers are eligible.
"Our philosophy is to follow people's actions [where they're] really putting money where their mouths are," said Bundle CEO Jaidev Shergill. Microsoft and Morningstar are also investors. "If we can map out the DNA of spending in a city, where all the money is going, and every merchant's spending DNA, we can get at information that 's a lot more pure."
There's also a Mint.com personal-finance tool to visualize spending in addition to the Yelp-like city guide that 's slicing and dicing millions of transactions to look at a different kind of data-driven loyalty. Instead of the never clear dollar-sign system, where more $ equals bigger bills, Bundle presents the average check size at local establishments. Keep in mind that you can't tell if two people or 10 dined at once, but Bundle's betting that all evens out in the end.