On the heels of its ShopAlerts Wallet launch in June, Placecast is now announcing the launch of 'Card-Linked ShopAlerts', which are mobile offers tied to nearby store locations using geofencing technology that consumers redeem by simply swiping their linked credit or debit card at the store.
Powered by a recently granted patent, Card-Linked ShopAlerts enables marketers to deliver tailored mobile offers to consumers when they are near a store, and retailers need only pay for the marketing when a customer actually makes a purchase inside the store.
Placecast's partners include Telefonica's O2, AT&T, and some of the largest credit card companies in the world. Over 160 brands have run ShopAlerts programs including Starbucks, L'Oreal, The North Face, Kiehl's, Subway, Pizza Hut, Kmart, HP, Chico's White House Black Market, JetBlue and SC Johnson. All of Placecast's customers receive the benefits of the technology built on the patent, which ties together digital offers, merchant locations and payments at the point of sale.
How it works:
ShopAlerts is a white label service. Retailers, financial institutions and mobile operators can deploy the ShopAlerts program with their own brand identity, payment instruments and additional services. For all ShopAlerts programs, consumers must opt-in to receive mobile offers.
When opted-in consumers enter a geofenced area (which is pre-set by the retailer, with guidance from Placecast), they then receive a mobile offer by push notification, text or directly in their mobile wallet or app. Consumers can also search for nearby offers based on location, keyword or category. For example, a Card-Linked ShopAlerts offer might read "Get a $20 statement credit when you use your card and spend $100 or more at Big Box Retail, 1234 Main Street."
Next, customers simply make a purchase and automatically receive the discount on their credit card statement. The customer wins because she has saved money; the retailer wins because they drove an additional purchase at the store; and credit card companies win because they've provided a valuable service to the cardholder and generated additional revenue.
Unlike other card-linked offers programs, Placecast delivers location-based mobile offers and tailors the offer using a broad range of data including real-time location, consumer preferences and spend history.
Card-Linked ShopAlerts can be used to complement other offers programs that credit card companies, carriers, and brands may already be delivering. The service aggregates offer feeds, localizing the offer content and tying the offer to a geofence around a store location for redemption and reporting.
The Problem with Location Data, and How Placecast's Patent Solves It
As the mobile loyalty and offers space becomes increasingly crowded, the importance of accurate merchant data has become apparent. In order to close the loop and link the offer to the purchase at the store, every player involved in the purchase cycle must be able to communicate its data about merchants to the other player - retailer to payments processor, payments processor to network, network to issuer, etc. The problem is, a store listing may be recorded differently by a retailer, a credit card issuer, an app developer in a coupon feed. If one part of this chain has inaccurate data or the players cannot resolve and match their merchant data, then the purchase loop is broken. The consumer misses out on saving money and the retailer misses out on making a sale.
In order to correctly deliver and measure a redeemable offer to a consumer, Placecast's ShopAlerts platform "translates" between the different databases' address listings to match the offer and the transaction to the correct store location. Because ShopAlerts ties activity to the individual store level, for the first time retailers can see actual foot traffic, offers that have been delivered and redemptions for each of their stores.
This puts Placecast in the unique position of being able to manage merchant data and target consumers more effectively than anyone else in the mobile offers space.
The proprietary technology behind this capability is the object of a powerful patent that the company has been granted (U.S. Patent #7,942,319). The patent is based on the ability to correctly match store locations with transaction data between processors, issuers, retailers and now mobile app and wallet providers.
Filed in 2007 by Placecast Founder & President Anne Bezancon, the patent covers 43 claims around technology that 'cleans' location data and translates the different address expressions in merchant databases.
For national retailers participating in current Placecast card-linked offers programs, anywhere from 12% - 37% of the offers received from merchants, retailers and credit card companies start with inaccurate store location data. Without Placecast's patented technology, it would mean that as many as 1 out of every 3 mobile offers would fail to be redeemed correctly, leaving millions of dollars in redemptions on the floor. Placecast's patented technology is incorporated into Card-Linked ShopAlerts and all customers receive the benefit.
"Location-based card-linked offers are the holy-grail of mobile marketing," says payments industry expert Dickson Chu who has led initiatives at Citibank, PayPal and Living Social. "Placecast is enabling the delivery of an offer to a consumer who is near a store and highly likely to make a purchase. Retailers and brands get closed-loop performance marketing where they can measure the ROI of their mobile campaign where it counts - in the real world."
Placecast launched Card-Linked ShopAlerts in beta with card issuers this spring. To date, over 550 merchants have delivered card-linked offers using the platform with restaurants emerging as the top-performing category.
"We're excited to be providing a mobile service that drives foot traffic into stores for retailers on a performance basis," says Placecast CEO Alistair Goodman. "Retailers will not only succeed in acquiring and retaining in-store customers, but will also see increased shopping frequency and basket size. This is one of very few ways that allow bricks and mortar retailers to measure the ROI of their mobile program in real-time."