When Ian and Sharlene Martin at Pilkington's Cafe found themselves leafing frantically through about 300 customer loyalty cards one lunchtime, they realised they were definitely in the market for a new system.

The owners of the Okara Shopping Centre cafe were the first in Northland to move their customer loyalty schemes on to a new digital platform.

The pair now have Goody, an online loyalty card system which works from a simple app for the 980 customers who have signed up since the cafe's system went online in October.

Customers can sign up for the service on the spot and in-store, and are given the choice of a small plastic Goody scan card for their keychain, or a free Goody smart phone app, which also scans at the point of purchase.

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They can then use the card or app to earn points and claim rewards at all participating retailers around New Zealand.

The app also allows users to see which nearby retailers use Goody, wherever they are in the country.

While the points are unique to each business and not transferable across retailers, the service does allow members to ditch the dozens of traditional cardboard stamp loyalty cards cluttering their wallets, by storing all their points in the Goody online system.

Goody was started in 2014 by entrepreneur Gorran Marusich, and is backed by key investor Shane Bradley, founder of GrabOne.

Through the Good Card system, the Martins, who took over the cafe 10 years ago, can see how many visits they have each day and how many free coffees have been redeemed.

"The customers were a bit apprehensive at first," said Mrs Martin. The system costs about $60 a month but has opened the cafe up to a database of 980 customers.

They can see the profile of customers, mainly female and between the ages of 45 and 75, in the case of Pilkington's.

The duo can also see how many customers read their promotional emails.

"Out of 980, we saw that 286 people read our last promotion, which was about deals on soup, with the cold weather upon us," said Mr Martin. "The most obvious benefit for us is the database we now have as each loyalty card customer must register their details."

Nectar cafe on Bank St, Red Pizzeria on Kensington Ave, My Computer Guy on Finlayson Street and Kiwicakes in Kamo also use the system, as well as the McCafe in Kerikeri.