News America Marketing to Launch Blockchain-Driven Incentive Program
Marketing services giant News America Marketing is testing ways to employ blockchain technology to update how consumers, brands and retailers use incentives.
A digital ledger of economic transactions, blockchain cannot be corrupted and can record virtually everything of value. For incentives, it allows for greater transparency, accountability and security for manufacturers, retailers and consumers.
“Consumers want a simple, no-hassle experience where a coupon is loaded to their phone and instantly redeemable anywhere they choose to shop,” said Zack Storer, News America's chief growth officer. “This historically has been a major challenge across markets. Blockchain is a key component of our next-generation incentives platform with the promise of achieving our vision for the future of the industry.”
For brands, News America Marketing believes blockchain could free up marketing dollars currently being spent on logistics and clearing, while also providing authentication and security not available through coupon clearing methods.
With this, retailers will be paid faster, helping to utilize working capital currently in an antiquated clearing process that dates back to the 1950s. With blockchain-authored incentives, brands will also be able to execute much more interesting cross-merchandising and loyalty programming rather than simple cents-off promotions.
Blockchain could also help fight fraud. Since its transactions require real-time communication to the blockchain platform from the POS system during checkout, offers will not only be processed and cleared, but authenticated by their existence on the blockchain. This approach eliminates the lag time and data-disconnect that allows coupon fraud to exist.
More than 90% of the 300 billion-plus coupons issued annually are paper and remain the top form of coupons redeemed – even for Millennials. Although increasing, digital coupons still represent a minority of coupons redeemed and are mainly tied to retailer loyalty programs or severely limited by closed platforms. Adopting blockchain could eliminate those barriers and accelerate the use of digital coupons.
News America plans to begin beta testing in the fall and will work with tech partners, retailers and brands to further explore this approach to incentive programming.