2013 will be the year that banks and merchants will be able to analyse – and leverage – the 11 billion transactions that take place in the UK every year, says ERN co-founder and CEO Dan Brassington (www.ernglobal.com).
Have you ever stopped to think about how much valuable data your bank is letting slip through its fingertips? Analysed properly, it has the potential to unearth all sorts of information about your customers – from their favourite brands, the regularity with which they buy a particular item, even the time of day they're most likely to buy it.
Instead of discarding this data, it could be used to create highly-targeted, value-added products to catch the eye of your customers – for example bespoke discounts when buying a certain item, all linked to the use of your bank's credit card. Similarly, merchants could use the data to send their customers timely, targeted offers on items they're are likely to buy, at the exact time they're to purchase them.
To a consumer, deals like this have obvious value. For banks looking to open new revenue streams, the ability to partner with merchants to create value-added products for customers that'll promote their credit cards to the top of a consumer's wallet is a massive opportunity. For merchants that want to boost loyalty among their customer base and create attractive offers to keep trade ticking over during leaner times of the year, it's equally appealing.
So if this transactional data can tell banks and merchants so much about both individual customers and groups of consumers, why is it not being utilised?
The problem for banks lies in their IT infrastructure. Out-of-date and incapable of handling the volume of transactional data that their customers' purchasing generates, the banks are reduced to seeing only basic, top-line information. It then usually takes a couple of days for this information to be processed and incorporated into a customer's statement, with all of the really valuable information – the item-line detail – missing.
Similarly, merchants often rely on years-old IT systems that aren't fit for purpose. The link with the consumer for the vast majority of sales – whether online or in stores – is severed by the click of a computer mouse or when the consumer walks out of a shop. But it’s this missing link that has the potential to deliver real and sustained benefits to both consumers and merchants.
Banks and merchants realise the value of the transaction isn’t confined to the monetary amount involved. It's in the detailed analysis of this 'big data' to gain an insight into lifestyle and future shopping behaviour – and then leveraging this information to influence future product development and promotions along with the tailoring and pricing of future promotions.
A system capable of processing and analysing this big data is what these banks and merchants are crying out for. This February at the FinovateEurope 2013 conference in London, ERN will be launching a global platform of live payment, analysis and tracking products developed for use by banks, merchants and consumers. It's capable of processing 100,000 transactions per second – to put that in context, 600 transactions take place every second in the UK.
It's built to be completely scalable and secure, utilising Tier 4 data centres with bank grade security in the UK, US and Singapore. Deployment times and costs are kept to a minimum, while the data insights it can provide for banks and merchants will be huge.
The benefits that these banks and merchants can reap – partnerships and help with targeting individual customers, as well as large groups of customers – are considerable. And consumers stand to benefit from the system too, not only with well-targeted, personalised and timely offers for items they're actually interested in buying – not lazy, one-size-fits-all deals – but with ERN's smartphone app.
The app will be the missing link between merchant and customer – rather than the transaction ending with a near-useless paper receipt, customers will have the app to store and organise all of their receipts. The app will also let the merchant make contact with the customer again, by acting as a container for coupons. These coupons can be timed to arrive when the customer is in a certain location, or at a moment when data from past purchasing behaviour shows them to be at their most receptive.
And the benefits of the app don't stop there. Customers using the app will be able to break down their spending in fine detail, so they can see how much they spend, on what, how often and when – all in real time. This will benefit those who need to keep a close eye on their budget, and those who need to be in full control of all of their receipts for self-assessed tax returns. For the first time they'll have all of their transactional data presented to them in a useful way.
2013 will be the year that canny banks and merchants can haul themselves into the 21st Century and get ahead of their competitors – and big data will be the key to their doing so.
About ERN: Established in 2011, ERN (www.ernglobal.com) has developed an integrated card transactional data analytics, coupon, loyalty and 'Big Data' platform.
ERN's innovative global infrastructure is designed to offer a completely scalable, reliable and secure suite of products to card providers, giving a deep level of analytical detail about consumer behaviour. This then enables the card provider to open up new revenue streams with additional value-added services for customers, boosting customer loyalty and promoting its card to the top of the consumer's wallet.
The company's board consists of a number of experts in the fields of financial services, payments, mobile, technology and corporate management. Co-Founder and CEO Dan Brassington has 17 years of experience within the IT industry including senior technical roles at investment banks such as JPMorgan, Citigroup and RBS. Executive Chairman Derek Tullett CBE has played a leading role in the development of the UK's financial services sector.