Mobile Marketing : Why It Matters for Cardlinking  

smartphoneWhile it’s no secret that consumers have long favored online shopping, industry reports show an increasing predilection for researching products and making purchases on mobile devices rather than desktops. A recent Forrester report revealed that mobile commerce surpassed desktops in retail traffic last year, while Prosper Mobile Insights indicates that 81% of smartphone users have done product research from their phones with 50% eventually making a purchase through the same device. Most compelling of all are the statistics on the actual sales resulting from mobile commerce: TechNavio’s analysts forecast the global m-commerce market to grow at a CAGR of 32.23 % over the period 2014-2019, while new research from Mintel narrows in on the European market to show that mobile commerce is on a steady rise in 19 countries. Indeed, Europe’s online retail sales are expected to reach €330 billion in 2019 with nearly half of these purchases made on smartphones in the UK and Italy.

The increasing consumer preference for mobile commerce therefore presents demand and opportunity for mobile marketing strategies in the context of cardlinking. In order for merchants and financial institutions alike to capitalize on this growing trend, it’s imperative to employ efficient marketing strategies which reach these consumers.

Mobilize e-mail

According to a Litmus research report, 51% of consumers check their e-mail on a smartphone or tablet, yet 80% reported deleting the email if it was hard to read or did or format properly. What message can be taken away from this? When sending emails to customers, it’s critical that the format be optimized for mobile so the message–or reward–is never lost. Use a clean, uncluttered layout, large font, and small, concisely written blocks of text instead of long paragraphs—this will dramatically improve the appearance of your email and make it easier to read. While images can enhance appearance, large image files may take too long to load. It’s wisest to keep images to a minimum and also ensure that customers can respond or navigate to a new (also mobile-optimized) page with buttons. Remember that space is limited on a mobile interface and customers are always looking to save time—so keep it simple and straightforward. To make it easy for customers to redeem awards, for example, their emails need to be easy to access.

Mobilize your website

Optimizing a website for mobile devices is just as critical. While the appearance of a mobile version website does not have to match the web version exactly, the content should be rich and not lacking in critical resources. Once again, buttons allowing the customer to make a purchase, contact the business, or link to social media should be easy to find and functional. Links are hard to click on, so they should be avoided whenever possible. Research has shown that shoppers are more likely to purchase from a brand that offers an engaging mobile experience, and keep in mind that customers often compare web and mobile versions when it comes to fostering brand loyalty.

Engage with Social Media

It’s not enough to have a business presence on social media sites. As many consumers enjoy accessing their various social media accounts from their mobile devices, businesses are poised to reach a greater audience by marketing directly to their customers through these sites and making it easy for them to leave reviews. Businesses may offer especially targeted deals to customers based on their purchase history, for example. Consumers also like to look up reviews before making purchases, with First Data reporting that 81% of smartphone users checking social media for reviews before buying. It’s therefore critical to integrate a mobile program with customer reviews and offer social media sharing buttons on mobile to facilitate mobile marketing.

Localize and Time It Right

Just as cardlinking provides tailor-made rewards for customers, localization is all about keeping the customer’s preferences and habits in mind. Businesses need to always bear in mind the language and cultural expectations of the consumer depending on their location. This can mean everything from using commonly used local/regional expressions in marketing campaigns to choosing culturally appropriate or appealing colors and even fonts (while avoiding themes that might be deemed offensive or negative, such as colors or numbers traditionally considered bad luck). These small details can eventually count on a bigger scale. Timing is just as important—when customers are sent their rewards or incentives play a big role in determining customer loyalty and retention. By tracking individual purchase history, businesses can determine the best times to send offers and communicate with their customers for optimum results.

When done right, mobile marketing strategies provide excellent ways for businesses to attract customers and optimize cardlinking. For customers to best appreciate the rewards a business has to offer, it’s important for businesses to strategize how and when to engage with their customers through mobile marketing.

Card-Linked Offers: Which Model is Best for Financial Institutions in Europe?

By Reda El Mejjad, CEO of Izicap, and originally published here.

Financial institutions were quick to get to grips with Big Data. credit card

They know that they have important
customer information and they’d like to be able to leverage on it. Consumers use cards for payment almost every day so they have huge information potential. Banks are therefore focusing on the privileged card sector.

The US trend known as card-linked offers cannot in our view be transferred identically to the European market. Its ability to adapt to the local context has to be considered beforehand. European consumers tolerate a certain amount of intrusion into their private lives from Google and Facebook but they may not be so lenient with their banks on the subject. The risk to reputation in transferring a US model to Europe must be analysed in depth.

There are two models of card-linked offers (CLO):

  • The “Issuer” model driven by card issuers (cardholder’s bank)
  • The “Acquirer” model driven by the acquirer (merchant’s bank)

Issuer model

The issuer model involves an in-depth analysis of cardholder’s card transactions unbeknownst to them and targeted couponing offers provided as instant rewards at participating retailers (mainly large retailers). Advertising’ offers are then published on the consumer’ online bank statements (online banking). The card holder may have the option to be removed in this model (Opt out).

This model may not be appropriate in Europe for the following reasons:

  • The rate of return will be very low based on having to work as on an opt-in basis. The American model works on an opt-out basis.
  • In the US, these offers are pushed on the consumers credit card statements which usually are not linked to the Bank statement. In Europe we are dealing with a debit card linked to the bank account where compliance are vigilant to third party using bank statements
  • Since these offers may affect the issuing bank’s image and reputation, the subject will have to navigate the gauntlet of the Compliance department. The recent experience of ING bank in Holland demonstrates how sensitive the issue is. After stating their desire to experiment (even in opt-in) with the roll-out of CLO-style targeted offers, ING received a volley of criticism forcing them to publish several press releases to attempt to reassure the public.
  • This profiling method hasn’t proven more efficient than allowing the client to express his/her expectations through more classic methods.

Acquirer model

The acquirer model is more merchant-centric and involves less intrusive use of card details. The service is based on POS transaction data from the retailer and not the consumer’s card details. Cardholders receive the offer from the retailers they’ve purchased from so the sense of intrusion is far less and there is almost no risk to the bank’s reputation.

There’s a good chance that the acquirer model will be easier to adopt in Europe. Especially since existing players have been encouraged to adapt their offers to stay competitive following the erosion in commission on payment transactions combined with the arrival of pure players such as Apple Pay or Paypal in Store. Card-link marketing solutions provide a real opportunity to improve the Acquiring bank/merchant relationships and set-up a new revenue stream for them. These solutions can provide a real valuable support to small merchants who need a real cultural change to adopt digital marketing tools and to compete with large retailers and Internet stores.