Barclaycard vows to offer more personalisation as it enters deals market

Barclaycard is to enter the fiercely competitive deals market with the launch of sub-brand “bespoke”, a website that promises to offer recession hit UK consumers thousands of personalised promotions from brands such as Tesco, Starbucks, Shell and BA based on their shopping habits and preferences.

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Free service Bespoke launches tomorrow (9 May) and will be available to all UK credit cardholders regardless of whether they are Barclaycard customers. Users will be able to search for deals by location, product and service and keyword.

About 5,000 offers will be initially available from about 1,000 large, medium and small merchants nationwide. It is hoped those numbers will grow other time. Launch deals include a £10 Starbucks Card for £5, an offer of 5p per litre off any fuel at Shell and a 3 for 2 deal at Johnson Cleaners.

Barclaycard is aiming to stand apart in the crowded loyalty and deals sectors by offering highly personalised deals, as chief executive Valerie Soranno Keating put it at a launch event this morning a “satnav for savings that allows people to choose when where and how they receive them [savings]”.

To this end, users will be served recommendations and personalised offers based on previous use of the site and transaction history gleaned from use of their Barclaycard, where appropriate, or from the payments Barclaycard processes for other credit card brands.

Users can also choose how they receive alerts, setting up the frequency of email notifications, for example, or by opting to receive texts when approaching a participating retailer offering deals.

Bespoke is also being used by Barclaycard to accelerate its data insight offering to merchants. Partners will be offered aggregated, non-personal data such as the offers bought and downloaded by existing and new customers as well as the gender, income and age of those registering for deals.

There are plans to monetise the service, a spokeswoman confirmed but she added that the site is currently at “investment stage”.

A multimillion pound marketing campaign, created by BBH with media planning and buying handled by Maxus, breaks this weekend (11 May). Two TV ads, one set at a Kaiser Chiefs gig and another in a coffee shop featuring TV stylist Gok Wan will be supported by a digital and radio campaign.

To push the personalisation positioning, an online game, My Player Twin, matches players with the Premier League footballer they most resemble using facial recognition technology and a Twitter campaign will see “bespoke ballads” created with lyrics based on users’ interests.

All activity will carry the strapline “For everyone, from Barclaycard”.

Nina Bibby, chief marketing officer at Barclaycard talks to Marketing Week about the marketing strategy for bespoke.

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MW: The deals market is becoming increasingly crowded with some in the daily sector struggling, what makes this service different?

NB: We are talking about it in terms of helping customers find savings for what they want to buy. It’s more about savings than deals. We have designed the service around the consumer. [Deals are] easy to navigate and redeem. We have tried to make it as easy as possible for consumers to save money, personalise the offer and control it in terms of receiving information on offers.

MW: Are there plans to use the data collected on non-Barclaycard customers to target them?

NB: Not at all. This is not a cross sell opportunity. This is about them getting bespoke offers that are relevant to them, not about introducing them to Barclaycard.

MW: Will there be any special offers for Barclaycard customers?

NB: No, it is literally for everyone. We have been in this market [payment services] for years and this is our opportunity to take a step back, look at the challenges customers are facing [in terms of the squeeze on their income and reduction in consumer spending] and look at we can do. Taking a broader view about the role we can play to make it easier for people to buy the things they want. Bespoke gives us an effective way of doing that.

We are offering value, relevance and breadth – big brands and local favourites. Asking consumers how do you want to interact with us? The consumer is not a passive participant recipient, they are active.

MW: Do you think the service will have a positive impact on perception of the Barclaycard brand?

NB: We are not doing one to benefit the other. The fact that it is from Barclaycard means we bring benefits and assets in terms of merchant relationships, the view of spending and customer relationships.

MW: Does Bespoke mark an acceleration of Barclaycard’s plans to become a data provider?

NB: This is a new business line and because we have this view on how and where the nation is spending we are able to aggregate that and provide merchants with insight to enable them to get the customers they want.

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