retail news in context, analysis with attitude

There is an interesting story in the New York Times this morning about how banks are looking for a new source of revenue by putting advertising on their monthly statements and creating a mobile, interactive system bringing together a number of components.

Here’s how the Times frames the story:

“A company called BillShrink has worked with more than 2,000 banks to offer a new service - part loyalty card, part daily deal - called Statement Rewards. Under the program, online bank statements may include deals and discounts for bank customers based on their recent spending. If, for example, a customer spent more than $100 at Starbucks in a month, Starbucks could offer a $5 coupon, complete with a small corporate logo, right under the statement’s listing for the last Starbucks purchase.

“The same deals could appear on a smartphone so a customer walking near a Starbucks could see how close they were geographically - and financially - to getting a discount at the nearest store.

“In the process, marketers gain access to preferred customers, while the banks and BillShrink get a small piece of each transaction. And the consumer now receives a bank statement, which most people regard as confidential and private, that is loaded with advertising.”
KC's View:
This is sort of intriguing, in the sense that we all knew that banks would be looking for new sources of revenue in the wake of financial regulations that limit what they can charge in certain circumstances.

It also suggests the extent to which consumers are in play, and the extents to which marketers will go to gain access to them. (I’ve noticed recently that newspapers have gotten into the Groupon-Daily Deal business, sending out daily promotions to online subscribers.)

But I do have one other thought - that any retailer needing a bank to help it identify and reward its best customers is not doing its job, is not paying attention.