Wednesday, May 16, 2012

American Express Launches Deals Program for Small Retailers

The new My Offers engine aims to help connect customers with merchants.

Small retailers are getting a new tool from American Express.  Apparently taking a cue from daily deals sites, the financial services company has launched My Offers—a feature on the company’s iPhone app that will let small businesses create and share consumer offers, with the option of sharing deals with only new customers or loyal clients. “We are really interested in reaching out to small merchants and getting small merchants involved, and getting them to embrace American Express as more than just a payments company, but a trusted marketing provider,” said Luke Gebb, American Express VP of global marketing. “We have a heritage of providing great offers to our customers, and technology is really allowing us to connect buyers and sellers in a much more sophisticated way than we have in the past.”  Announced yesterday, the program—which business owners can manage through AmEx’s Go Social program—is being piloted in Los Angeles and New York City, although national franchises will also participate.

For cardholders, My Offers will appear inside the AmEx bill-paying application; the app will display offers catered to users based on previous American Express transactions. Once cardholders select an offer, they can redeem it by using their AmEx card at the establishment. In one of the launch offers, for instance, shoppers at Amy’s Bread in Manhattan can get 10% back as a credit on their card statements. The bakery’s “marketing budget is shockingly low,” says Yang-yang Chen, assistant retail manager for Amy’s Bread. The company had been hesitant with Groupon-style deals, especially after hearing stories about small businesses being overwhelmed with new customers. But when American Express approached the bakery, Amy’s Bread saw this as a risk-free way to test the mobile waters.

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