Payments marketing company edo has launched edo Marketplace, a card-linked offers platform that allows merchants to create their own targeted campaigns.

By using the new platform, merchants can access edo’s marketing and data analysis tools to gain insight into consumer behavior, and then develop offers linked to card payments by using edo’s application programming interface. Edo, which also recently partnered with Global Payments to broaden its card-linked offers business, is offering its partner resellers a white-label product to support card-linked offers within local markets.

“Merchants can get a view into how much consumers in their area are spending, and what part of the market they aren’t getting. And they can tailor their offers based on that information,” says Ed Braswell, president and CEO of edo.

Edo provides data on national, local or vertical-specific consumer card holder performance. Merchants access that data to build marketing campaigns through a self-service portal. The portal asks merchants questions about their products, budget, goals and provides a choice of artwork and other marketing content.

“You could see, for example, how many people are making pizza purchases in your area during certain windows, and compare that with your own sales, and respond accordingly to bring [up] your volume through an offer,” Braswell.

The offers are linked edo’s network of card issuers—the company has relationships with three of the country’s six largest banks, with a total of about 200 banks.  Consumers receive the offers online or through mobile apps. Consumers redeem the offers as a credit to the account they use to make the purchase.

Once a campaign goes live, edo tracks the campaign’s performance on the dashboard. The self-service option is being targeted at smaller, local merchants in particular, since they lack the resources to independently analyze a card-linked offers campaign, Braswell says.

“The model can give the merchant a sense of ROI that a coupon or an email offer can’t,” Braswell says.

Card-linked offers are also used to attract consumers to use mobile wallets, or to see their payment cards as multi-functional. For example, CardSpring recently entered into a partnership with VeriFone that allows shoppers to redeem digital coupons by swiping their cards at merchants that use VeriFone’s PayWare Connect gateway.

CardSpring’s technology is also part of First Data’s Offerwise Loyalty program, in which FourSquare sends digital coupons linked to consumer’s payment cards.

Cardlytics also offers digital coupons, and has added social networking tools to tailor offers and attract card issuers. Other companies such as Loylogic are attempting to boost point of sale rewards redemption by giving consumers more options as to how the rewards can be used. Banks are also directly delivering card-linked offers.

“Card-linked offers have great potential, and when done right can be highly successful,” says Jordan McKee, an analyst at Yankee Group.

But there are challenges to using card-linked offers, such as determining who controls access to consumer data.

The marketing model also has some shortcomings, particularly regarding consumer recognition, McKee says.  “A common problem is when consumers link an offer to their card only to forget they've done so. Without a notification on their receipt or phone, the savings are rarely noted by the consumer and the value to the merchant is greatly diminished.”

That makes targeting and tailoring the offers important for merchants, McKee says. “Card-linked offers that are not targeted or relevant tend to provide little value to consumers and merchants alike."

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