Atlanta-based First Data Corporation, a provider of electronic commerce and payment solutions has just released a white paper titled Improving the Value and Performance of Online Offers in which they coin the phrase, universal commerce, the melding of brick and mortar commerce with ecommerce to provide consumers with a more convenient shopping experience.
The First Data report points out that the online influence within the brick and mortar sector is particularly evident with the use of ecoupons, loyalty programs and daily deals which can create a winning solution for consumers, merchants and deal providers alike. Consumers love the idea of getting a deal, merchants have the opportunity to gain new customers and of course the offer providers get a cut for their services. But as First Data goes on to explain there is room for improvement in this process.
Merchants often lack the means to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and paper vouchers and coupons create problems for both merchant and consumer. These issues can undermine the purpose and the success of a promotion. First Data says this is where an offers transaction platform or payment processing platform can be invaluable.
An offers transaction platform overcomes the challenges of online offers by enabling seamless tracking of offline redemptions. Redemptions can occur in real time, happening automatically at the point of sale with no special effort by the customer or the cashier.
The report goes on to explain how having an offers transaction platform in place can benefit everyone involved.
For Consumers: Hassle-free Redemption – With card-linked offers driven through an offers transaction platform, the consumer enjoys a better in-store experience. Inundated with increasing numbers of offers, they will find card-linked offers easier to manage and redeem—no more paper vouchers at the merchant point of sale.
For Merchants: Less Paperwork and More Insight – The redemption process is fully integrated at the point of with Online Offers sale. No special training of employees is needed, nor are there any extra steps required for card-linked offer redemption. No paper coupon or voucher is needed. No particular payment card brand is required.No spreadsheets or portal log-ins are required to validate and track offers. Card-linked offer redemption does not slow down a normal transaction. Discounts or adjustments can be applied in real-time during the checkout process,or during a batch settlement processing for display on the customer’s account.
For Offer Providers: More Knowledge Means Better Service – By linking offers to consumer payment accounts through an offers transaction platform, offer providers become more engaged with their merchant customers and deliver a deeper level of service that promises better campaign results. With more reporting options and better performance data, merchants are more receptive to adjusting on-going campaigns and launching follow-on campaigns.
As consumers become more informed and continue to move into mobile shopping they are creating a need for brick and mortar businesses and ecommerce to come together as a universal commerce. Daily deals and similar industries have a significant role in the move to this new commerce, providing targeted offers to consumers, no matter their location.