Why Visa Will Revolutionise How Marketers Drive Ecommerce And Footfall

Today's news that Visa will enter the cashback market is huge.

It's an area I've covered several times recently, particularly now that most of the high street banks have loyalty or cashback services of some description. So it's not a surprise that a card issuer should get in on the act. After all, it's the card that generates the shopping data -- and if a customer has a debit and a credit card from the same issuer, that leaves the likes of Visa having unrivalled sight on data garnered through both cards.

The stats around Visa are massive. It pretty much owns the UK debit card market with a 95% share, and a 55% share in the credit card market. It means that in total, Visa accounts for one in three pounds spent in the UK.

That gives the brand amazing insight in to the everyday spending on a debit card as well as the larger purchases and online deposits that will often be paid for by a credit card. 

It does not take a genius to realise that this is a data person's dream. 

If you want to find customers in a certain area who display specific spending patterns to receive a cashback offer, then it would be hard to think of other places to go than Visa. 

Sure, the banks are in this space -- and while I am not signed up to a service, from what I've seen on the outside, the offers tend to be pretty generic and untailored.

There's obviously room for improvement there, and there will need to be, because it would appear that Visa is going to go straight in to offering personalised offers to highly segmented audiences right from the start. There will likely be national offers, as you would expect, but with all that data to hand, you can only expect that the service will not only pinpoint likely audiences but also segment them geographically.

The other big advantages here are very obvious, but still probably need to be pointed out.

These will be offers without the vouchers and the coupons. They will be stored against a card and automatically deducted. No more fiddilng with coupons or finding an app with a barcode stored in the 'offers' section.

From experience, one of the trickier parts of cashback schemes is customers getting back their money back. There are normally delays while systems talk to one another and from the feedback on forums it appears to be quite a bone of contention. One operator I spoke to didn't seem to think it was odd to ask people to photograph and then email receipts as proof of purchase.

In contrast, with the back-up of the right IT, a system that does this instantly will be very much appreciated by consumers.

I suspect there will have to be delays on any items that have cool-off periods - i.e., anything with a signed contract and a monthly direct debit, like a mobile phone and airtime package. Being instant when it is possible, however, will be just what this market is looking for.

So mark these words. Marketers are going to get a new way of sending retail offers to apt audiences with, one would imagine, a lot less hassle for consumers.

It's going to be a very significant launch for marketers and consumers alike.

If you're a marketer that is heavily invested in the value of data to retail clients, it's hard to think of a more exciting launch.

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