March 19, 2019

The Intersection of In-store and Digital

Written By
Lacey Miller
How consumers interpret advertisements, new product launches, or brand presence at events is crucial. Marketers of all levels are continuously working to leave a lasting positive impression. Even most ad platforms offer sentiment analysis, but is it truly accurate? And, how do you know that an impression from an ad has carried all the way over to the in-store experience? At best, it’s an educated guess.

As discussed in a previous blog post about the challenges with ad platforms, connecting ad spend to the in-store experience isn’t vanity, it’s crucial for survival. Finding an online-to-offline (O2O) data-rich alternative, that is transaction based, is imperative. Enter card-linked offers.

What is a Card-Linked Offer?

At its most basic, card-linked offers (CLOs) are merchant-backed, digital offers connected to a transactor’s credit card. When the card is swiped, the offer is redeemed! (At least, that’s the seamless experience Dosh offers...) But, it’s worth noting that the benefit lies on both sides—while the consumer gets an automatic reward, the merchant also gets automatic data. Data that goes beyond assumptions and is rooted in a positive consumer experience.

The Dosh User Experience

The advantage with card-linked offers is they provide concrete transactional-based analytics. With this, you know the consumer has made a purchase, not just seen your ad for the 24th time. We’re talking about measuring average order value (AOV), percentage in lift, transaction frequency from new or lapsed customers, and transactional-based return on ad spend (ROAS).

The card-linked offer, with cash back rewards may feel new but it is based in the market research we all prescribe to and CLOs are focused on any brand’s ultimate goal: to deliver a positive customer experience. With 83% of consumers reporting they feel rewarded by getting cash back, leveraging CLOs is the best way to make that experience seamless.

Selling the Concept of the CLO

It’s a mindset change. The budget for CLOs lives within digital advertising, where most dollars these days are dedicated to online ads. These types of digital ads are attached to metrics we are all familiar with and are used to presenting to our executive team. Card-linked offers, on the other hand, present a new perspective and new metrics. Change can be scary and innovation isn’t always baked into the budget. But innovation is what drives greater results and greater customer experiences. It’s also what keeps brands relevant.

In fact, a 2018 study by CardLinx reported participants already leveraging CLO campaigns are reporting a 100%+ annual growth in card-linked transactions, supporting the concept of CLOs as mainstream and highly beneficial to brands.

With these survey results, CardLinx concluded, “Card-linking’s ability to reach consumers across multiple digital channels is increasingly enticing CMOs of large merchants to shift digital marketing budget to this technology.”

Falling under ‘digital’, CLOs are integral for brands focused on online-to-offline (O2O) differentiation. Because it is digital that will help brands building a greater brick-and-mortar experience.

Digital is the Modern O2O Strategy

Fueled greatly by the news of acquisitions like Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, one of the hottest topics of 2019 is the online-to-offline experience and the opportunity it provides brands. The strength for brick-and-mortar: 82.5% of all retail sales still happen inside physical stores, so the marketing opportunity lies in the vast amount of digital touchpoints that influence the consumer along the way.

Also, according to a report by Jill Standish and John Jones of Accenture, “Only physical stores can exploit the correlation between physical interaction with a product and an increased sense of ownership, which can be a powerful driver of sales.”

It’s also good to know that of the disruptors in the retail space, 87% operate physical store locations. So, it’s not just about keeping the doors open, it’s about differentiating in a time where the physical store is dominating.

Tying CLOs to O2O

Card-linked offers live at the intersection of in-store and digital. From the myriad of digital touchpoints, online product research to digital ads, CLOs are the only strategy with real-time transaction data tied to a measurable positive experience. You have to deploy strategies that provide data like AOV and transaction frequency to understand real growth among your consumer base. The opportunity is too great, as market experts Forrester and Deloitte estimate that “web-influenced physical store sales are about 5X online sales”.

So, as you evaluate your digital advertising budgets, consider the benefits of card-linked offers: the positive consumer experience with your brand at time of transaction and the online-to-offline transaction based data that can tell you more about consumer behavior than any display ad.

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