Mark these words. One of the biggest developments to happen in performance marketing has just been announced, although its promise may not be immediately obvious to all. The proclamation that the UK's
biggest performance marketing network, AffiliateWindow, is launching StoreWindow may be lost beyond the close-knit affiliate network community. But trust me, this is a huge deal.
should know because I actually broke the story, although the magazine responsible for making the announcement had to sit on the news for a couple of weeks and play it very carefully due to commercial
So why all the fuss? Well -- no matter how much hype you swallow, four in five purchases (give or take) are made in-store, yet all the juicy money-off deals are published
online. That's why you end up handing a bemused waitress a printed voucher for a free starter or a store assistant is forced to tap a code in from your mobile phone to activate a 10% reduction on a
new pair of trainers. It's the same with cash back. If it's not done online, there's no link back to you other than snapping a photo of a receipt and sending it to your cash back provider. No kidding
-- this actually happens a lot every day.
Then came along the banks, setting up or piggybacking loyalty schemes towards the end of last year that link to the the cards they issue so
customers can get a very small cash back amount off everyday purchases with the occasional, temporary headline deal thrown in.
The convenience argument is very obvious. If you have to
do nothing more than pay with the card you'd have used anyway, being loyal to the petrol station, coffee chain and supermarket on your bank's scheme makes perfect sense, even if the cash back is
typically only something like 1%.
The big advance is to get the really big juicy deals on the Affiliate Window network to stick to your credit or debit card too. Getting several pounds off
a new item or a free drink by simply linking the deal to your card -- so it sits on it waiting to be activated through the Birdbank network -- will prove to be a really good deal.
AffiliateWindow's partners have the deals people actually want, and Birdback has the network linking stores to payment systems to allow cards to automatically trigger those previously activated
Advertisers and marketers should really care about this, for several reasons. Other than the fact that it really is a very big deal in performance marketing, the technology will
bridge the gap between online marketing and stores for the first time. It will also allow offers to be dished out very discreetly in-store just as they are already online.
shoppers witnessing printed vouchers or coupon being handed over at the till and feeling foolish for paying full price, the item will be discreetly discounted on payment. In that way, it's just like
an online transaction, although it has happened in-store.
This opens up the nirvana of online offers targeting shoppers individually and sending them in-store to increase footfall. Clever
retailers will segment offers and place them before specific audiences. It may be "sleepers" who haven't been back for a while or shoppers who data shows are likely to soon need a specific item. It
could be customers who shop with a rival but not you.
Whatever the motivation, for the first time ever, in-store and online will be aligned. That is probably the ultimate achievement of
performance marketing -- and the potential for marketers and advertisers is almost limitless.