American Express has been pushing the edge of next-generation offers, using Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter to offer coupons that can be synced to a user’s card account. But up until now, there wasn’t one place to find and organize all those offers. On Monday, the credit card company plans to introduce a new My Offers tab in its American Express iPhone app, which will give people one place to view all the available offers and recommendations on which ones they might like.
My Offers, which builds off American Express’s Smart Offer technology, is being tested first in New York and Los Angeles, where users will see a collection of both national and local offers. Those users will be able to fire up their American Express app and see a stream of offers that have been chosen for them based on their spending habits. They will be able to sync offers to their card from the app and can see a list of saved offers, which can be sorted by location or expiration date. After they’ve used an offer, My Offers will record how much they’ve saved and where the offers were used. Card holders will need to wait a couple of hours before the updated app will become available at 6 p.m. ET Monday.
The upgrade isn’t just for consumers. Small merchants will now have the ability to target all three social channels using an enhanced version of the Go Social offer entry tool. Previously, American Express pushed merchants to support one channel or another. Now, they can hit Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter and My Offers with one offer, or they can choose where they want their coupons to appear. Also, with the personalized offers, merchants can also have a better hope of hitting the right consumers with their coupons. This could be another challenge for other offer providers such as Groupon, which is pinning some of its future on mobile offers through Groupon Now. American Express does not charge small merchants to list their offers but takes a cut of the revenues from larger retailers, based on how much money is brought in through the offers.
As I’ve written before, I think American Express is well positioned to be a big player in the local offers market. It’s got an elegant way to close the loop on redemptions by letting people save ads to their card account. Merchants can be assured they know how an offer actually performed. AmEx also has a lot of resources and experience in the loyalty and offers business. And with its rich transaction history, it can help target offers in a way that many other offer providers can’t.
But I still have a problem with My Offers as it stands, something I’ve brought up to American Express a couple times already. There’s still no way for a user to have one place to view all their saved offers they’ve attached from the different social platforms. You basically have to remember where you saved an offer and go back to that app to see it. That’s not a great experience and it means that you can lose track of an offer and forget when it expires. Discovering and saving offers through My Offers is a good step and may solve the problem for some people, who will have a one-stop shop. But for many card holders who hear about an offer via their social network, there still needs to be a way to put all those offers in one place.
Luke Gebb, vice president of global network marketing, told me in an interview that a future version of My Offers will aggregate saved offers from all the different social channels and will include push notifications for offers that are close to expiring. He said American Express has a number of other companies that are looking to connect to its Smart Offer technology, so the need for a consolidated offer wallet will be even more pronounced soon. After the initial roll out with the iPhone, American Express is looking to expand its My Offers feature to its apps on other mobile platforms.
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