Visa is adding electronic capabilities to its Visa Offers rewards program, leveraging online and mobile technology to bring offers closer to the point of sale.
The new capabilities include the ability to customize offers, analytics to measure offer relevancy, real-time messaging to individual customers, multiple redemption options and support for multiple programs.
The card network will use its payments processing network, VisaNet, to automate offer delivery. Retailers and financial institutions can deliver offers via email, Web or mobile.
"It's cutting new ground here," says Donald Boeding, president of merchant services for Vantiv, one of the first processors to deploy the new Visa Offers system.
"The new tech brings loyalty and rewards to the point of sale…as opposed to a situation where the rewards are delivered offline or in statement credits where the consumer doesn't have the immediacy," Boeding says.
Visa has established agreements to source discounts from national retailers and can manage the Visa Offers platform on behalf of retailers, acquirers and issuers. The card network did not provide an interview by deadline.
Vantiv will combine its payment processing platform with Visa Offers to add personalized deals. Merchants can identify and send customized, targeted offers to shoppers based on purchase behavior. Once the reduced transaction amount has been approved by the card issuer, consumers are immediately notified of their savings via receipt printout and text or email message.
The goal is to remove the paper coupons that consumers carry with them or stuff in their wallets, Boeding says.
For Vantiv, the use of Visa's expanded merchant offers engine is another step in the company's effort to expand its own electronic commerce heft as payments become more mobile. Vantiv's ability to deliver customized marketing and offers for merchants and consumers will get a further boost from data analysis capabilities from Litle & Co., an electronic company that Vantiv purchased in 2012, Boeding says.
"We see this as part of the merging of offline and online payments," Boeding says.
Other payment companies are also using mobile technology and CRM to deliver loyalty and rewards while consumers are shopping.
First Data allows debit and credit card holders to link to Foursquare's social network to drive special offers. IPad point of sale app provider LinkPOS uses a customer engagement platform from Merchant Warehouse to deliver rewards. And Barclaycard is using its bPay app to deliver marketing and offers for local merchants.
"It's not as much the mobile part as it is the access to data for value additions," says Nick Holland, a senior payments analyst at Javelin Strategy & Research, who says the data can also inform strategies to reduce transaction fees by tying advertising to payments at checkout.
Delivering offers digitally is "part of the omni channel experience, as people shop from one venue or another," Holland says. "It's about having a payment capability on an app, or Xbox or on television. You're going to be seeing a lot more of these kinds of deals going forward."