Rethinking the Rewards App

Fetch Rewards takes a new approach to brand loyalty.

Tyler Kennedy and Wes Schroll

Kennedy (left) and Schroll seek easy ways for consumers to save on everyday purchases. Chris Schroll

A few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, a mother emailed Fetch Rewards to say thank you.

Pregnant with her fourth child, on bed rest, and unable to work because of the pandemic, she wrote that the points she’d earned through the mobile rewards app were enough to help her and her family get by during tough times and purchase what she needed for her new baby daughter.

“Things like that let you know you’re making a positive impact,” says Tyler Kennedy ’13, vice president of operations for the company. “It’s more than saving a few bucks on groceries. It’s helping people in a time of need.”

The Fetch Rewards concept is simple: shoppers scan store receipts, earn points on participating products, and redeem those points for gift cards.

CEO Wes Schroll x’15 got the idea for the app as a sophomore, when he moved into his first apartment and started shopping for his own groceries. He wondered why stores were asking him to sign up for frequent-shopper programs instead of the brands he was far more loyal to. He approached Kennedy about designing a brand-loyalty app for a Wisconsin School of Business assignment. They then traveled the country, winning enough money in business-plan competitions to start developing their product.

They continue to seek easy ways for consumers to save on everyday purchases, build relationships with their favorite brands, and have a little fun. (Users might receive a special Mother’s Day message, for example, or see a shower of digital confetti to celebrate savings.)

Schroll is the ideas guy, closing sales and looking ahead to the next big thing; Kennedy brings those ideas to life, managing the staff and the processes. “We’ve been working together for almost eight years now, and it’s been awesome to see our partnership strengthen over time,” Schroll says.

The company grew from two employees to 165 spread out across locations in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and the Madison headquarters.

Today, upward of three million shoppers per month access rewards from more than 325 brands in dozens of categories — from health and wellness to beauty products to food and beverages — and Fetch is continually teaming up with new partners. In the coming year, planned upgrades to the app include expanding where and how shoppers can save and a feature that helps track spending habits.

“No amount of savings is too little,” Schroll says. “Everything adds up and can make a difference.”

Published in the Fall 2020 issue

Tags: Alumni, Business, Mobile apps

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