A novel concept: Why not just pay customers to shop at your store?

By Koby Halbrook, Head of Agency, Grocery, C-Store & Fuel, Kard

Consumers have always gravitated towards rewards — the feeling of receiving something back in return for making a purchase is almost unmatched in its marketing power. A cashback reward is unobtrusive and frictionless, and to most customers it’s a win-win that registers to them as savvy spending rather than an advertisement. Kard’s platform serves cashback offers from national and local brands to a wide variety of neobanks and traditional banks, putting instant rewards in front of millions of young, diverse cardholders all across the country. Merchants of all stripes are starting to catch on.

Recently, buyers for a major national pizza chain approached us to run a pilot offer on the Kard network. In addition to bringing on new customers, the merchant was interested in capturing the attention of lapsed customers, which we were able to define as consumers who had not purchased from the brand in the prior three months. Card-linked offers are unique in that they can be targeted based on actual first-party transaction data; there’s no guesswork associated with determining whether the cardholder in question has purchased from a particular brand using the associated card. Every actual purchase is available for review by the algorithm that matches offers to cardholders. This feature means that our platform could focus the majority of the media spend on hitting the brand’s key performance indicator, which was that more than 70% of the sales during the campaign come from new or lapsed customers.

Kard’s transaction matching algorithm is constantly taking in millions of transactions from our partner institutions and comparing them to active offers from a long list of merchants. After an offer goes live, cardholders on our network who make a rewardable purchase receive a nearly instant notification about their reward. Partner banks also market merchant offers directly to their cardholders through emails, banners, offer maps, and in-app notifications. This entire machine runs without any extra input from the merchant or ad agency. Importantly, it also runs without any extra input from the consumer; CLOs on the Kard platform don’t require our partner banks’ cardholders to activate individual offers. Without much more than a contract, a logo, and some advertising copy, an offer is ready to be published to our network of cardholders.

After the pizza offer ran, Kard used the first-party purchase data from our platform to measure the campaign’s performance. When actual transaction data is available for review, there’s no need for estimates or convoluted measurements; we look at the sales numbers on our platform during the campaign and we report what we see. In this case, against the brand’s KPI of 70%+ sales coming from new or lapsed customers, we saw 86.5% of sales from customers who hadn’t purchased in the prior three months. Almost 40% of the rewarded customers had no purchase history at the brand in the previous six months. And one-quarter of users had purchased between 4 and 6 months previously, but didn’t purchase again until the card-linked offer campaign. The average order value for the brand on the Kard network also increased 16% during the campaign, compared to the period before the campaign. Ultimately, the campaign also saw our pizza brand take wallet share from competitors, capturing the attention of 37% of users who hadn’t purchased in the prior 6 months but had purchased at least once from one of three named competitors.

This kind of success is in line with the performance of many of Kard’s merchant campaigns, and the metrics available as a result of our first-party transaction stream are second to none. The data stream also ensures that brands only pay for orders that are backed by an actual individual transaction. The easy launch, the success of the campaign itself, and the comprehensive accuracy of the performance metrics brought the pizza buyer back for several more CLO campaigns on our network.

From the perspective of the client, launching a CLO for the pizza restaurant was quick and simple. Our software and our team handle almost all of the heavy lifting when onboarding a new offer. Part of the work involves ensuring that the offer will be correctly matched to valid rewardable transactions. But restaurants and retailers don’t have clean and tidy Merchant ID codes on transactions, especially when it comes to franchised businesses or those with multiple transaction streams (e.g., online and in-store).


Kard’s rewards-as-service platform makes loyalty more rewarding by simplifying the rewards experience for cardholders, financial institutions, and merchants.  Utilizing the Kard API, financial institutions - including neobanks, traditional banks, and any other card issuer - can quickly and easily build their own customizable rewards program, driving cardholder engagement and loyalty by connecting users to the brands they love and rewarding them for everyday purchases.  Powering rewards for over 45 million cardholders in the Kard issuer and partner network, Kard drives new customer acquisition and loyalty for thousands of in-store and online merchants across the US.

AUG 2023