Visa lets partner companies deliver transaction-triggered coupons

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Credit card company Visa has opened its global processing network for marketers to send consumers offers based on their purchasing history. The company tested the initiative last November in a pilot program with clothing retailer Gap and said April 21 that it is expanding the service to companies nationwide.

Consumers can receive offers, including discounts that are triggered when they make an online or offline purchase with an enrolled Visa card. Transactions are not required to be made with a participating company. However, companies that are not participating cannot block transactions performed in their stores or on their e-commerce sites from triggering offers from participating companies, including competitors.

Leigh Amaro, senior business leader for global information products at Visa, declined to say what companies Visa will work with or when future programs will launch. However, she said the “strong pipeline” includes companies in dining, travel and entertainment, and office supply sectors.

Visa is only providing the platform to target consumers; the participating marketers are responsible for the execution, including the opt-in process, offer details, frequency of delivery, delivery channel and redemption site, said Amaro. She added that Visa manages the triggers that influence when and to whom an offer is delivered.

“We can tell when that consumer is shopping, the specific ZIP code they're in, the type of merchant category they're shopping at, and the time of day and the day of week,” she said. “We can use those parameters to deliver really tailored offers to the consumer.” For Gap's “Gap Mobile 4 U” program, Visa also considers previous purchases from Gap and its affiliated brands.

Gap is using SMS for its program, but Amaro said companies can use email as well. Marketers can also dictate where consumers can redeem offers and whether to send non-triggered offers, such as a product promotion. Visa is not sharing consumer information with participating companies.

Consumers who join Gap's program are asked to provide their name, email address, mobile number, Visa number and billing ZIP code. Amaro said that because companies manage the opt-in process, they can match submitted information with their customer databases.

Asked how many consumers participated in Gap's pilot program, Liz Nunan, a Gap spokesperson, said via email that “it's still too early to provide data points on the program.”

She did not respond to questions on how Gap is using data collected from the program.

The initiative is open to all Visa cardmembers in the United States.

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