Barclaycard offers cardholders Freedom
Barclaycard has finally announced a launch date for its instant rewards loyalty scheme using Welcome Real Time technology. Sarah Alspach, marketing director of Barclaycard Freedom, talked to Loyalty about the scheme and what they hope to achieve with it.
Barclaycard was one of the first credit card companies to participate in a loyalty rewards scheme. First there was the catalogue rewards programme, where cardholders saved points, which were communicated on statements. This was given a few revampts then lastly there was Nectar, the multi retailer loyalty scheme of which Sainsbury’s is still a major partner.
Recently, apart from the Goldfish card, which forms part of the Barclaycard stable of products, the company has been devoid of a loyalty offering, preferring instead to market by way of 0% interest fixed period deals, APR (annual percentage interest rate) and balance transfer offers.
Then last year the company announced that it was launching another loyalty scheme, except that this one wasn’t going to be just “another” loyalty scheme. It would be different.
The new programme to be launched on March 17 will be called Barclaycard Freedom, and will be retailer financed in terms of the reward, which will be 1% of spend. Barclaycard is footing the bill for the Welcome Real Time technology, marketing, administration and POS infrastructure.
Loyalty has already reported to readers that Barclaycard would be using the Welcome Real Time instant redemption reward technology. Welcome Real Time is a French company (see article from last month when Sebastien Slim talked about loyalty in France), but Welcome has been most successful in the Asia market, where its instant redemption reward offering appeals strongly to cardholders.
Barclaycard says that it is targeting 30,000 retailers of all sizes to join the scheme, with many of them medium and small retailers. They are being asked to participate by the time of launch, hopefully on March 17, but new retail partners will also be taken on after this date. Alspach told Loyalty that the names of major retailers will be announced between now and March, but she wasn’t prepared to reveal any identities yet.
Barclaycard is about to write to its 8.5 million Barclaycard cardholders not currently in a loyalty scheme to tell them they will be automatically enrolled, and how to gain more information.
Sarah Alspach explained: “Barclaycard Freedom will be unique in the UK market place in that it will change a customer transaction into a relationship building opportunity.”
Alspach didn’t like the scheme being described as instant gratification, preferring instead to call it incremental reward. “We are adding something extra onto the card that gives a value equation to connect our retail partners with both their customers and ours.”
She wasn’t happy either with the suggestion that Freedom could be likened to a multi-retailer Boots card.
“Freedom is unique in that it is the only scheme in the UK marketplace were cardholders can earn rewards, in real money, that can be redeemed so easily,” she said.
Alspach stressed that they had spoken to a large number of cardholders, who told them they wanted something simple and intuitive. She explained the demands:
1. It needs to be easy – people don’t want to work hard to earn rewards. No coupons or vouchers to wait for. They must automatically receive the rewards and have the option to spend or save.
2. They wanted to be able to easily understand the value, which is why we have put the reward in pounds and pence.
3. People don’t want to be limited in the ways they can earn rewards, which is why the scheme has been made as wide as possible.
As well as the 1% of transaction value reward, it will also be possible for retail partners to give special offers of up to 20% discount to cardholders.
At the POS, the customer will see a message from Barclaycard Freedom, before the transaction messaging begins. The customer will also be told through the POS device how many points have been earned so far, and will be asked whether they want to redeem them now, or wait until another occasion, or at another retailer.
Alspach claims that on average, there will be 200 retailers within five miles of where any individual cardholder lives.
As marketing director of Barclaycard Freedom, Alspach is responsible for launching this totally new brand, but rather than feeling daunted by this task, she says that this is the fun bit.