Merchants Drive Their Own ‘Transaction Marketing’ Via CardSpring Connect

Merchants sometimes like to control their own promotions to their own list of customers, rather than waiting in line for Groupon or other deals publishers to do it for them. Yelp, for instance, is one company that has had success enabling merchants to publish deals as they like. It has allowed for over 25,000 self-published deals.

Now along comes CardSpring, which ups the ante beyond simple deals to “transaction marketing” by enabling merchants to write their own promotions, distribute them over CardSpring’s new publisher network, and redeem and analyze the deal on their Point of Sales.

The service’s “near” real-time analytics can show merchants where their redeemed promotions are coming from and what they bought. It typically takes a second or two for an offer to show up after a purchase is made.

FourSquare and MOGL are among the most significant publishers providing CardSpring Connect to at least some of their merchant advertisers. Others include Thanx, Roximity Moblico, and OnStripe.

The launch of CardSpring Connect is a significant milestone for the San Francisco-based company, which has been working since 2012 with payments leader First Data to provide check-in promotions at certain venues. More recently, it has also begun integrating with VeriFone, a  POS network to enable developers to build their own card-linked services.

CEO Eckhart Walther tells us that CardSpring’s new initiative is “Google Analytics for the retail world.” It is also part of the broader trend towards performance marketing, which he says has now begun to bury brand advertising. “In the 1980s, Yahoo was all brand advertising,” he says. Now, “Yahoo online advertising is 80 percent sold on performance,” or at least, advertising that has a performance component on it.

CardSpring’s efforts here are likely to compete against a host of loyalty programs, at least for merchant mindshare. Walther, however, emphasizes that the company is not competing with other companies but seeking to become their infrastructure in return for a nominal piece of the action. CardSpring has no intentions of launching its own sales channels, he says.

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