American Express is all over the deals and promotions space, with its Link, Like, Love campaign on Facebook; Twitter offers; and geo-based deals on Foursquare. Its Serve product also has been providing deals for AOL’s Patch.com.
Until now, there has been little response from the bank-originated credit card companies: MasterCard or Visa. Today, MasterCard announced its own, initial deals initiative — “MasterCard Offers Services” — a daily deals and promotions distribution effort for its bank members. At the same time, MC promises that consumers will have a “simple, easy-to-navigate technology system.”
Initially, MasterCard is teaming with Local Offer Network, a deals aggregator and network. Member banks will be able to pick and choose deals in various formats and vertical segmentation from local and regional merchants. Vertical segmentation will likely include shopping, travel and experiences. Content will be available by the end of this quarter.
MasterCard has also been working with loyalty providers such as Next Jump to provide them with anonymized data. It is not clear whether MasterCard will be working with merchants to enlist them in deals. It also doesn’t appear that there there is a loyalty angle with the arrangement. Perhaps that will be included in the next phase. Last year, MasterCard reported that it had 37 million merchants and 63 billion annual transactions coming through its network.
Many banks already work in the promotions space with various loyalty and engagement programs such as Cartera Commerce’s OfferLink and Edo Interactive. The relationships reinforce the banks’ merchant relationships by providing them with extra value. It also keeps the commissions in house (i.e., away from e-wallet schemes) and reinforces their own brands as trusted commerce channels.