A recent study by McKinsey & Co. found that digital coupons will surpass all forms of print coupons, apart from freestanding inserts, in 5 years. The study also predicts that load-to-card and mobile coupons will grow 50% annually from 2015 to 2019. While FSIs still account for 89% of coupon distribution, they only make up 41% of U.S. coupon redemption at a lowly 0.47% redemption rate.
While coupon activity is increasingly going digital, 95% of retail sales still occur in physical stores according to AT Kearney’s Omnichannel Shopping Preference Study. And yet, according to eMarketer’s State of Omnichannel Retail study, the use of mobile devices while shopping in-store has increased to 80%, up from 64% in 2012. Clearly, there’s case to be made that consumers are adopting the omni-channel approach to shopping.
The Omnipresent Omnipotence of Omnichannel
Over the next 12 months, global eCommerce sales are expected to hit $1.4 trillion as more and more consumers increasingly use mobile and tablet devices to shop. However, the future is not just about online shopping. Shoppers are demanding a smoother, more personal integrated digital-to-physical shopping experiences, hence the ever growing trend of omnichannel.
Omnchannel is an evolution of multi-channel retailing that provides the consumer a seamless shopping experience across shopping channels, online or off and it’s not just about mobile or responsive design. Omni-Channel should include the online to offline experience; consumers finding a product online as well as shopping in store.
The gist of the perfect omni-channel experience from the customer perspective is that the shopper should never have to do anything more than once or backtrack in any way during the shopping process no matter where or on what device the shopping occurs. Shoppers should be served the right information at the right time based on the context of the situation.
The Importance of Affiliate Sites to Retail Shoppers
Recent Forrester research found that deal-driven consumers turn to affiliate sites first and they often start and end their shopping experiences at an affiliate site. This, Forrester says, is because of the prevalence of affiliate deal sites, coupon sites and comparison-shopping sites. People are simply conditioned to look in these places during their omnichannel excursion. This is very good news for affiliates and brands working with affiliates.
In fact, according to the study, three times as many shoppers believe the promotional deals and coupons they find on affiliate sites are better than the ones they see on a retailer’s website. In addition, affiliate channel shoppers are 4x more likely to try a new brand after receiving an offer and usually spend more than the average online shopper. Clearly, shoppers crave a good discount.
Making Online Retail Mesh With Brick and Mortar Retail
So how does a merchant marry a shopper’s love for affiliate site coupons with the over 90% of sales which still occur in physical stores?
Digital coupons which can be redeemed in-store, of course, but, as research has shown, digital couponing can still be a messy process with merchants facing daunting integration issues with individual retailers, affiliates overwhelmed by a selection of individual coupon deals and shoppers facing an endless collection of proprietary apps.
Enter card-linked offers. Basically, they are digital offers loaded onto and directly associated with a consumer’s credit or debit card. Deals are automatically redeemed at the register without any POS or ecom integration by the retailer. There’s no cutting or printing coupons, no loading individually-branded coupon apps, no time-consuming mail-in rebates and, for the retailer, zero integration.
Card-Linked Offers In Action
Working with Cardlytics, Bank of Amrica’s BankAmeriDeals program has been used by over 200 million times making of $500 billion in purchases. And that’s been of great benefit to the 4,000 merchants who have signed up for the program. Nashville-based card-link marketing company Edo has extended billions of offers to its 200 million cards it has with three of the top six financial institutions.
Omnyverse, the omni-channel network powered by Linkable Networks, has taken a unique approach in the affiliate space by creating a platform where publishers and advertisers can card-link-enable offers that can be redeemed both in-store and online. Whether shoppers choose to buy in-store, online or via mobile, their offer, discount or rebate is automatically applied and redeemed because it’s linked to their credit card. No promo codes and nothing to print. The network then handles payment to affiliates.
In terms of merchant-side implementation, this approach amounts to a one time implementation and integration that automatically propagates to all affiliate channel partners.
Card-Linked Coupons Deliver Something For Everyone in the Affiliate Channel
Over 90% of purchases are still made in physical stores. Shoppers love a good deal and they’ll take to the Internet to find it — upwards of 80% on mobile while in store. Affiliates love to offer deals and coupons. Merchants want an easy way to tie together online shopping patterns in offline in a seamless, omnichannel fashion. Card-linked offers are one great way for everyone to reap rewards from consumers’ ever changing shopping patterns.
Put simply, if you’re an affiliate, this means that all of your offers can be made available to the shopper at point of sale. And, in the case of Omnyverse, these offers can be used online or in the store. If you’re a merchant, you’ve essentially tied the knot between online and offline shopping. And if you’re a consumer, there’s no more printing coupons and no online versus offline shopping decision to be made as all offers are available no matter where the sale occurs.
About Greg Shepard
Greg Shepard, the Chief Strategy Officer of Pepperjam, is a seasoned veteran in building and running sustainable growth businesses. Inspired by the unique perspective he garnered as both a merchant and affiliate in past ventures, Greg established AffiliateTraction and it has since expanded into the largest multi-national affiliate marketing agency with offices in Silicon Valley, Toronto, London and Sydney. In January of 2016, AffiliateTraction was acquired by eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions. In April of 2016, eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions became Pepperjam, resurrecting a familiar name in the performance marketing space.