By Mark Jackson – Head of Financial Services, Collinson Group

Mark Jackson – Head of Financial Services, Collinson Group
Mark Jackson – Head of Financial Services, Collinson Group

Almost every business wanting to increase sales or build customer loyalty will have considered using vouchers at least once. In years gone by, people would happily scour newspapers and magazines clipping vouchers for deals and offers.But in today’s digital age most customers do not have time for that.

There have been many attempts at digital vouchers, from customers downloading offers and printing out vouchers, to showing a text or QR code on their smartphone at the point of sale. But all of these bring their own issues including customer and till friction and the need for staff training.

There hasn’t been a method that’s effective for building loyalty and repeat sales– that is until the development of the card-linked offer.

More than just a voucher for the digital age – card-linked offers (CLOs) enable organisations to drive loyalty, but also better understand customer behaviour. Having opted into the CLO programme by providing credit or debit card information, an offer can be loaded directly onto the consumer’s card and then automatically redeemed when they pay. The offer itself can be paid as loyalty rewards, or as cashback on to their card statement. For example, an offer of a 10% discount with a retailer could be loaded onto a person’s card, then after making a purchase with that retailer, the customer would automatically receive a 10% refund onto the same card once the payment has cleared. It’s great for the consumer and the merchant because it is completely frictionless, which makes a big difference.

Collinson Group research into the global affluent middle class (the top 10% of earners) revealed that 59% would spend more with a brand if it offered a loyalty programme where it was easy to earn and redeem rewards. It should not be surprising that CLOs have evolved to become a key element of a loyalty programme – boosting customer engagement for retailers, airlines and financial institutions across the globe.

CLOs also provide a valuable ability to link a customer’s online and in-store purchase behaviour. They enable a brand to see if an offer made online, through an email or social media for example, was redeemed through a purchase made in-store or online. This attribution plays a vital role measuring and driving online and in-store continuity. It also appeals to customers –Collinson’s research revealed that 60% of those questioned want to be able to earn loyalty currency both online and in-store. Card-linked offers can play an important role in meeting this demand in-store, seamlessly and effectively.

Finally, CLOs provide an abundance of valuable data. Leveraged effectively, brands can use the insights to deliver more personalised offers and experiences for customers– which will drive loyalty and increase engagement.In the US, 78% of internet users said personally-relevant content from brands increases their purchase intent, according to a OneSpot/ Marketing Insider Group survey.

Through card-linked offers, the humble voucher has entered the modern age, helping businesses in highly competitive markets to better understand and reward their customers, as well as increase sales and boost loyalty.

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