Daily deal sites have become much more than simply a way consumers can find what they’re looking for at cheaper rates than in the store. It’s actually begun driving commerce. Daily deal sites offer discounts or two-for-one deals on everything from dinners to yoga classes to airfare, all with a tight purchasing window. Because of that, consumers have begun to try out completely new things that they wouldn’t necessarily have bought on their own, if they hadn’t been prodded on by the daily deal. And every day, consumers get a slew of emails with the latest savings opportunities. Groupon has turned itself into a large company based on their industry-leading offering, but it appears that other, already well-known brands are interested in getting in on the act. In a recent announcement MasterCard has made their intentions known, and will now aim to become a major player in the daily deal market.
MasterCard will begin their work in this market through a partnership with Local Offer Network, a successful deal aggregator and syndication network. But rather than launch a whole new platform, MasterCard will lean on its millions of customers to bolster their efforts. They will integrate Local Offer Network’s current deal platform within their MasterCard Offers Services platform. That way, anyone who owns a MasterCard will have access.
MasterCard made a statement about this latest announcement through Mario Shiliashki, their US markets emerging payments lead. He expects the partnership with Local Offer Network will help the credit card giant become “the ‘go-to’ offers solution for merchants…looking for a stronger connection with our cardholders.” It’s clear from this description that MasterCard expects to reap a huge benefit from the deal issuers who take advantage of the program, as much if not more than from their consumer base. MasterCard is already one of the largest credit issuers in the world, so if they could bolster their relationship with brands as American Express has been able to, it would open an entirely new revenue stream for their business.
The technology will be merchant-focused as well. Vendors will be able to connect to potential buyers through an easily-navigated online system. On the other side, issuers will receive ‘geo-targeted’ offers that make the most sense for their customers. And consumers can expect hundreds of merchants, all local to their area. MasterCard anticipates launching by the end of June, with at least an initial batch of issuers and merchants.
With Groupon’s emergence, many industry leaders feel that the daily deal market may be the key to completely integrating online shopping in the mobile space. Daily deals also work seamlessly within the social networks, as they are often shared on blogs and among friends. American Express has beat MasterCard to that side of the market, as they are already running this type of service tied into FourSquare and Twitter. Visa’s Europe division put out their own daily deal and discount website in December, with local retailers in the UK. Check out hotdealsboard.com to see an example of this type of offering
Evan Fischer is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.