In Brick-and-Mortar Retailers, Card-Linking, Digital Commerce, Online-to-Offline, SKU-Level Data
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Staying Competitive for Retailers May Mean Sharing SKU-Level Data

CardLinx CEO Silvio Tavares was recently profiled in Bank Innovation for their article: Will Merchants Hand Over More Data to Make Mobile Wallets Work? by Philip Ryan. With the fortunes of brick-and-mortar merchants declining and online retailers ascending,

Silvio makes the case that this is the opportune time for brick-and-mortar merchants to share SKU-level data with FIs and payment networks in exchange for deploying personalized, targeted marketing campaigns. Card-linking is the only marketing tool that bridges the gap between online and in-store purchases. With more and more shoppers starting their search online and on mobile devices, this trend will only accelerate and the advantages for online merchants will grow over time.

Bank Innovation reported:

…[T]he bulk of shopping still takes place in brick and mortar stores. E-commerce purchases in 4Q 2016 made up just 8.3% of total sales volume.

Silvio Tavares, president and CEO of the Cardlinx Association, a coalition promoting card-linking technology, believes brick-and-mortar merchants may be ready to give FIs and payment networks access to the industry’s most jealously guarded secret — SKU-level data. (SKU stands for Stock Keeping Unit.)

Bringing offline spend online, and bringing that data into the view of FIs and networks is, according to Tavares, “the trillion-dollar question.” But Tavares is bullish on the prospect of merchants delivering such data, as well he might be, since Cardlinx is owned by businesses promoting card-linking (Mastercard, Discover, FIS, First Data, Microsoft, among many others).

“Merchants are going to be more willing to [share SKU-level data],” Tavares told Bank Innovation last week, because teaming up with financial players is “one of the principal ways to be more effective themselves.”

Times are tough in retail, Tavares went on. “Brick-and-mortar is in a straight-up street fight. Macy’s — they’re out there just trying to survive, and they don’t have access to Amazon-type data,” he said. “They understand data is the difference between winning and losing. To share data with trusted partners is to look to the future.”

As card-linking expands to ever more IoCT devices, collaboration within the O2O industry will be essential to not only grow the industry, but also provide the silver bullet brick-and-mortar merchants are seeking to attract new customers and innovate to maintain existing customers.

Preceding the upcoming CardLinx forum on Mobile Commerce and the Internet of Commerce Things on April 26th in San Francisco, there will be a SKU-Level User Group on April 25th hosted by Jen Medeiros, Director of Business Development for In-Store Offers at Rakuten/Ebates. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to strategize with leading merchants on the future of SKU-level data in card-linking. Register today!

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