The idea for Fetch Rewards came from a UW-Madison student’s frustration with the number of rewards programs he was asked to join. Instead of downloading multiple apps, Wes Schroll just wanted one place where he could earn rewards points for his groceries and household items.
After a few years of development and 2 1/2 years in mobile app stores as Fetch Rewards, Schroll’s app surpassed a digital milestone in August — 1 million monthly active users.
More than 1 million people over the past month uploaded photos of store receipts to Fetch Rewards, which then scanned those receipts to identify the brands of items purchased. For each item purchased of a brand that is partnered with Fetch, the users accrue points that can be exchanged for various gift cards.
These aren’t just passing users either. About 85% of users who scan one receipt will go on to scan another, Fetch Rewards spokeswoman Allison Geyer said.
“It’s grown a lot faster than I think we expected,” Schroll said.
Partnered companies — such as Kraft Heinz, Unilever, MillerCoors and Kimberly-Clark — pay Fetch when purchases are logged for rewards, Schroll said. Brands benefit from partnering with Fetch by rewarding customer loyalty, whether their products are the cheapest on the shelf on any given day at any given store.
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Frito Lay is the most recent brand to join with Fetch.
Thousands of products can currently be scanned through Fetch Rewards for points.
“We wanted to pull together a bunch of like-minded brands that wanted to reward their customers,” Schroll said.
Users can exchange the points for gift cards, with an exchange rate of about 1,000 points for every dollar. Points range from about 150 points for a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese to 750 for a 12-pack of Miller Lite beer and 1,000 for an eight-pack of Scott toilet paper.
Schroll dropped out of UW-Madison in 2013 to start Fetch Rewards, and since then he has grown the Madison company to about 80 employees in the United States with another 30 in India, he said. Along with Madison, Fetch also has offices in Chicago and New York City.
The app is available for both iOS and Android phones.