Last updated on March 28th, 2018 at 10:36 am
Leveraging the power of blockchain technology, News America Marketing, a marketer of online and offline consumer incentives, is incubating and testing new ways to “modernize how consumers, brands and retailers use incentives.”
Blockchain is a digital ledger of economic transactions that cannot be corrupted and can record virtually everything of value. For incentives, it allows for greater transparency, accountability and security for manufacturers, retailers and consumers, says News America.
“Consumers want a simple, no-hassle experience where a coupon is loaded to their phone and instantly redeemable anywhere they choose to shop. This historically has been a major challenge across markets. Blockchain is a key component of our next generation incentives platform with the promise of achieving our vision for the future of the industry,” said Zack Storer, chief growth officer and EVP of digital, data and emerging technology with News America.
For brands, News America foresees that blockchain could free up non-working marketing dollars now being spent on costs such as logistics and clearing, and at the same time providing superior authentication and security not available through existing coupon clearing methods.
The company also expects that retailers will be paid faster, helping them utilize working capital currently caught up in a clearing process that dates from the 1950s. With blockchain-authored incentives, brands also will be able to execute much more interesting cross-merchandising and loyalty programming rather than simple cents-off promotions, News America adds.
This new technology also could help fight fraud. Since blockchain transactions by necessity require real-time communication to the blockchain platform from the point of sale during checkout, offers will not only be processed and cleared, they also will be authenticated as real. This approach would eliminate the lag time and data-disconnect that allows coupon fraud to exist.
More than 90 percent of the more than 300 billion coupons issued annually are paper and remain the top form of coupons redeemed, even for Millennial shoppers. Digital coupons, while on the rise, still represent a minority of coupons redeemed and are mainly tied to retailer loyalty programs or are severely limited by closed platforms. Adopting blockchain could break down those barriers and rapidly accelerate the use of digital coupons.
News America Marketing, with its approximately 2,000 advertising clients, more than 55,000 stores in its retail network, and an expanded Shopper Data Hub, anchored in first-party data from its proprietary savings app Checkout 51, says it is uniquely positioned to drive change in the industry. The company will be discussing its plans for blockchain at industry forums this spring, and beta tests will begin in the fall. The company plans to work with tech partners, retailers and brands interested in testing and learning about this new approach to incentive programming.