American Express Ups Ante In Bid For Walmart Shopper

In a new partnership promotion, Amex and Walmart are teaming up to provide budget-driven consumers an additional incentive to shop at Walmart and to open and use a Bluebird account. What can other banks and credit unions learn from this co-branded relationship?
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When Walmart introduced their Savings Catcher program, the intention was to make Walmart’s traditional price matching policy simpler. Instead of having to scour newspapers, coupon sites and physical stores for evidence that lower prices were available elsewhere, the revised program enabled consumers to go home and enter their receipt number or scan the barcode with their Walmart mobile app within 7 days of their purchase.

Savings Catcher would compare the latest purchases against all eligible advertised deals, and within 72 hours the customer would be sent a phone notification and an email announcing the cash savings, if any. Funds were available immediately through the app by downloading a Walmart eGift card that was good for purchases in-store or at Walmart.com. Simple enough.

The Bluebird 2X Advantage

In another extension of the American Express and Walmart financial services partnership, Bluebird customers can now double the money they get back from Savings Catcher as part of the “Get2X” promotion. All the customer needs to do is to register for, or link to, their existing, Bluebird account.

Through at least 2/28/15, if a customer agrees to load their Savings Catcher Walmart Buck$ to Bluebird, Walmart will double the savings (Up to $599.99 per calendar year per account/person). This is obviously a huge win/win for both Amex and Walmart since the value of having a Bluebird relationship has increased exponentially and since the money loaded to Bluebird from Savings Catcher can only be used at a Walmart store or online.

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Cobranded promotion on American Express Bluebird website

Here’s how the Get2X promotion works:

  • The customer logs in to Walmart Savings Catcher and enters their Walmart receipt barcode number and if there’s a lower price advertised, Walmart will refund the difference in the form of Reward Dollars.
  • To double the Reward Dollar amount, the customer selects “Redeem to Bluebird” in the Savings dashboard
  • Existing Bluebird customers who choose to redeem to Bluebird will automatically receive double the Reward Dollars into their account as Walmart Buck$ to spend exclusively in Walmart stores or at Walmart.com. Customers who do not already have a Bluebird account will be prompted to register for a free Bluebird card in a few easy steps.
  • Savings Catcher customers can use their Bluebird Cards to spend Reward Dollars exclusively at Walmart or Walmart.com. Reward Dollars will be applied automatically at checkout. Any remaining purchase amount after applying will be deducted from their available balance.
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Bluebird mobile application with promotion of ‘Get2X’ promotion

Walmart’s Bluebird partnership is only one of many forays into the financial services space. Walmart also offers American Express Serve, a full-service digital reloadable prepaid account, and has announced plans to distribute Green Dot’s GoBank checking account exclusively at Walmart.

Walmart also is a major partner in Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), the retailer-led mobile payment initiative which plans to launch a mobile payment application, CurrentC, next year. Alternatively, Amex is a major partner of the Apple Pay mobile payments application.

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The Power of Coupon-Clipper Buzz

Nothing spreads faster than he buzz about a good deal within the coupon-clipping community, and the news of the “Get2X” promotion is no exception. In addition to being heavily promoted on virtually every coupling website, advertisements like the one below are being used as part of a vast affiliate network developed by Bluebird and Walmart.

Visitors to any of the coupon sites who use the promotional ad to provide more information about the promotion trigger an affiliate code which provides revenue for the coupon site. This is an excellent example of a social media referral program that can generate new Bluebird customers.

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What Others Can Learn From The Amex/Walmart Partnership

Co-branded partnerships and affiliate networks are not new, but have not often been used in traditional financial services circles much except for co-branded credit cards. By integrating a mobile banking application with a customer’s shopping experience, the customer benefits from increased savings and a simplified rewards program.

The financial institution benefits from a significantly higher level of ongoing engagement which drives loyalty and customer satisfaction. In the case of Bluebird, they also benefitted from an extraordinary level of social media buzz, which leads to new accounts and greater public goodwill.

As the financial services battlefield gets more crowded and competitive, differentiating offerings gets more and more difficult. The Bluebird promotion with Walmart illustrates the potential power of collaboration and the potential for growth.

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