As firms like Group Commerce pull out of the local market, others like Edo are moving in the opposite direction. The company, which syndicates card-linked offers to financial institutions like Ally Bank and Fifth Third, has hooked up with local reseller 2Go Media to open its network to local merchants through a simplified version of its enterprise platform.
Through the platform, merchants can target offers to consumers based on location and spending history, see potential return, and then track redemption seamlessly through the credit card transaction. Edo’s network reaches more than 15 million consumers, all of whom signed up for a branded rewards program with their respective banks.
“We’re realistic that were not going to be able to scale at the local level unless we can [build] developer partnerships that can help us [achieve] relationships with local merchants at scale,” Jeff Fagel, VP of marketing and brand development at Edo, told Street Fight. “Our success is going to be tied to partnering with the right groups who have the right relationships — whether it’s mobile platforms or merchant acquirers that have these connections and reach across the country.”
In addition to the channel sales efforts, the company has built a small direct sales force and a larger client services team to provide support for both the channel partners and SMBs directly. Fagel says his company is targeting, among others, legacy-marketing services in the direct mail or coupon business that may lack a digital solution.
The four-year-old start-up is one of a growing set of companies offering card-linked solutions and among a handful of firms leveraging bank partnerships to create immediate scale (without an onboarding process) and provide access to vast amounts of consumer data.
For merchants the fact that Edo can target based on spending history, lapsed or new customers, as well as customers who tend to purchase within their vertical also means deeper market analytics. The platform provides merchants with competitive metrics like market share and how their business compares with competitors’ in terms of key variables like basket size.
Financial institutions have become a quiet force in the local marketing space over the past eight to 12 months, as they seek to drive card spending and loyalty among consumers who are increasingly being offered new ways to pay for goods. Since September, we’ve seen four major acquisitions in the space, with Barclays, Mastercard, Capital One and J.P. Morgan Chase all acquiring local offers or loyalty services companies, and others like Bank of America partnering with platforms to drive their own rewards service.
The decision by card issuers to invest in value-added services like Edo’s points to the evolving role of financial institutions as facilitators of commerce in the local marketplace. With the barriers to the payment industry lowering, card issuers recognize the need to move beyond liquidity as their primary value proposition and to begin to leverage data to improve the local commerce experience from discovery to payment and then loyalty.
Steven Jacobs is deputy editor at Street Fight.