Research Identifies New Shoppers Who Are Transforming Retail

CashStar, the industry-leading provider of prepaid commerce solutions, in conjunction with Texas A&M Center for Retail Studies and Retail TouchPoints, today released the results of new research that identifies a new and highly influential segment of shoppers. Based on a survey across more than 1,300 consumers, the research shows that this segment, described as “Brand Mavens,” are digitally engaged and brand loyal shoppers who have strong peer influence. Brand Mavens have significant purchasing power and connecting with this segment is critical to the long-term success of retailers.

Brand Mavens actively motivate consumers in their circle of influence to try new brands and purchase more, initially through the use of gift cards. When combined with loyalty rewards, coupons and promotional offers as a way to manage all purchasing interactions with a brand, gift cards become a form of branded currency and are even more desirable to Brand Mavens. Branded currency is the foundation of their digital engagement, brand loyalty and influence, and makes it easy for them to shop a brand. In fact, 68% of Brand Mavens said they would like to utilize one card for completing payments, accessing loyalty points, and redeeming coupons and promotional offers.

Representing 53% of U.S. shoppers, these brand loyal consumers are predominately female (60%), financially responsible, in committed relationships and educated. They also have huge purchasing power and influence to generate significant increases in revenue and loyalty. The average Brand Maven spends approximately $1,100 on gift cards annually and redeems an average of $700 in cards – a total direct annual purchasing power of $1,800. Their purchasing power rises exponentially as they indirectly influence others to buy and redeem gift cards, and become loyal brand purchasers.


Analysis also shows that Brand Mavens are:
  • Pervasive: Brand Mavens have influence across all major retail verticals. They shop with gift cards and influence purchase and loyalty most frequently with restaurants (85%), department/big box (73%), and fashion and apparel (64%) retailers. They also frequently shop and influence purchasing decisions with health and beauty, home goods and furnishings, and outdoors and sporting goods retailers.
  • Omnichannel: Brand Mavens are cross-channel shoppers. While they redeem gift cards in the store and on the website most frequently, they also redeem via mobile and social channels. Their most-visited channel is the physical store (90%), with the retail brand website not far behind (79%), as well as mobile (37%).
  • Informed: Brand Mavens are voracious consumers of information, seeking out content before they make a purchase. They diligently gather product information and 66% read product reviews before completing a purchase. Their network is also important, with 61% consulting friends, family or co-workers before making a purchase.
  • Social: Brand Mavens are active social media users, enhancing their position as opinion leaders and influencers. Analysis of the survey data shows that Brand Mavens have a well-connected social network and broad presence on social media, which they use to inform, educate, advise and influence others. Close to one third (28%) share feedback about experiences via Twitter, Facebook, Google and other social channels.

“It’s clear from our research that Brand Mavens are an important segment with significant purchasing power and tremendous peer influence,” explained Retail TouchPoints Editor-in-Chief Debbie Hauss. “Understanding how to identify and engage these ultimate brand advocates will be core to the success of every consumer-facing brand.”


Additional findings include:
  • 75% of Brand Mavens are more likely to re-shop a brand if they can use their gift card for payment
  • Of those using mobile wallets, 54% use retailer native mobile apps to manage and redeem gift cards with brands; 48% use third-party mobile wallet apps, such as Apple Passbook, MCX CurrentC and Google Wallet
  • 55% consider joining a brand’s loyalty program and 51% are interested in tying their gift cards directly to a retail loyalty account
  • 47% encourage friends, family and co-workers to join retail loyalty programs, which is significant because 90% of consumers trust peers when making purchasing and loyalty decisions
  • 55% influence others to purchase gift cards and 56% want to re-load a card, which will result in additional sales and long-term loyalty

“Brand Mavens are a group that certainly cannot be ignored,” said CashStar Vice President of Marketing Gary Lombardo. “The research supports the idea that retailers need to enable gifting and prepaid commerce experiences across channels and devices throughout the customer lifecycle to capture the attention of this important segment.”

Learn More:
View the Infographic: Brand Mavens Cannot Be Ignored!

Source: BusinessWire


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TAGS:   card services, Loyalty, Rewards and Membership, trends


InComm Not For Sale; Bloomberg Article Incorrect

Last week Bloomberg, the financial news provider, published an article quoting anonymous sources suggesting that InComm is pursuing a dual-track process that could lead to an outright sale of the payments technology company. As InComm is a major player in prepaid worldwide, Paybefore wanted more details, so we contacted Scott Meyerhoff, InComm’s COO and CFO. Meyerhoff tells Paybefore that Bloomberg got it wrong.

In an exclusive interview, Meyerhoff tells Paybefore that the company is not for sale, not planning to sell and has not engaged any third party to contemplate or pursue a sale. “It’s speculation and it’s wrong,” he says. “We’re focused on taking care of our customers, pursuing acquisition opportunities, driving commerce and continuing to expand our business. What we’re not doing is reaching out to potential buyers, nor are we planning to reach out to potential buyers, as the article claims. We’re certainly flattered by the attention, but it’s simply incorrect.”

The article, which appeared in BloombergBusiness, contended that the other part of the dual-track process is a $400 million IPO to launch in the second half of the year.

On the IPO issue, Meyerhoff tells Paybefore that InComm has not officially engaged anyone in connection with an IPO. He concedes that InComm has longstanding relationships with a number of investment banks and that company executives meet regularly with bankers as a matter of due course.

“Investment bankers offer us their counsel—and we listen,” Meyerhoff says. “We’ve been doing this for years and we’d be foolish not to listen.

“As for current plans for an IPO, we’re stewards of this business and we’re continuously contemplating options,” he adds. “In light of current trends in the capital markets, we’ve increased our diligence on this topic. If market conditions are right, we’d certainly consider an IPO—just as other companies in our line of business have done. This is a topic of discussion we have every year, and the level of interest is driven by market conditions.”



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TAGS:   card services, InComm


More than 2B chip cards ship in 2014, driven by demand in US, China

Newly released figures from the Smart Payment Association indicate that the number of chip cards shipped around the world more than doubled within three years — from 1 billion shipped in 2011 to more than 2.1 billion shipped in 2014.

According to an SPA press release, growth in the Chinese and U.S. markets contributed to this significant increase. Detailed figures also confirmed the growing demand for "tap-and-go" contactless payment across the world.

Contactless technology represented more than 42 percent of all smart payment cards shipped in 2014, up from 37 percent in 2013, according to data collated by the SPA, whose seven members represent around 75 percent percent of the total available market.

The cata also highlighted the primacy of dynamic data authentication technology, which protects chip-and-PIN cards against cloning and data, the release said. Seventy percent of cards shipped in 2014 featured this technology — up from 66 percent in 2013.

"The enthusiasm for new ways to pay, with more convenience and security, is driving the growth of contactless payment," said SPA President Nicolas Raffin, in the release. "Across the world we have seen an increasing number of retailers actively promoting 'tap-and-go' payment for lower value purchases — reducing queuing and offering greater speed and convenience for customers at the point of sale. We expect this trend to continue to gather pace as we move through 2015."

"New ways to pay" forms part of a vision paper from the SPA.



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TAGS:   card manufacturing, card services, EMV