Card-linked offers and loyalty programs are clearly an effective way for merchants to engage consumers and generate business.
Such is the conclusion that can be drawn from the CardLinx Association’s 2016 Card-Linking Industry Survey, the results of which have recently been released. More than 92 percent of participants in the survey said they have seen an increased number of their customers leveraging card-linked offers over the past 12 months. More than 60 percent of respondents also said card-linking will develop into a $10 billion industry.
Under a card-linking umbrella, consumers can link their existing credit cards, debit cards, or mobile wallets to loyalty program or discount coupon offers, and then see the loyalty benefit or discount automatically applied without using a digital coupon, paper coupon, or QR code. According to CardLinx, more than half of survey respondents reported having seen their volume from “card-linking” transactions increase by at least 50 percent over the past year. This is a marked difference from last year’s survey, in which only 10 percent of respondents cited increases in card-linking transactions that exceeded 50 percent.
Meanwhile, nearly one-third of respondents reported that their card-linked offers are growing at over 30 percent annually, and 95 percent stated that the number of merchants that utilize card-linked offers has increased over the past 12 months. An excess of 40 percent pegged conversion rates for card-linked marketing campaigns at higher than 10 percent.
Restaurants, department stores and clothing/apparel companies were the early adopters of card-linking, the study found. In a statement issued when the study results were announced, CardLinx President and CEO, Silvio Tavares said the findings show that card-linking has a network effect and it is accelerating.
“Merchants and brands have poured more money into marketing and social media campaigns for card-linking, attracting more consumers. This in turn is bringing more payments and fintech companies into the industry that are developing new, innovative platforms to widen card-linking’s appeal to even more consumers,” Tavares asserted.
The uptick in merchants’ use of card-linked offers makes sense given the benefits, which many are finally recognizing. For one thing, merchants that participate in card-linked offers enjoy the same “perks” consumers do—e.g., no hassles at the checkout counter when it comes to deal details, and no confusion about coupon exclusions.
But there’s more to it than meets the eye. With card-linked offers, the need to train staff is non-existent and there’s only one party to pay– the card-linked service provider, and even then, not until the sale is completed. Merchants that introduce card-linked offers also benefit from receiving big data, which can be used to see when, how, and what consumers are buying in real time. This means they can see who is buying and whether any redeemed offers turn into repeat business. That’s just not so with “daily deals,” where it’s impossible to effectively track whether an offer turn into customer loyalty or are being purchased by someone who simply wants a one-shot offer.
Seems like with card-linked, it’s a win-win to be hooked, from the standpoint of merchants and consumers alike.