American Express (AmEx) is partnering with several big-name brands to launch Plenti, the first American loyalty program allowing consumers to earn and use points in a variety of stores.
According to Plenti Consumer Research, commissioned on behalf of AmEx in November, 72 percent of Americans would prefer a less limiting rewards program that encapsulates a wider range of products. To start, AmEx’s partners will include Macy’s, AT&T, RiteAid, ExxonMobil, Nationwide, Direct Energy, and Hulu.
“This is a perfect time for a coalition loyalty program, as online marketing becomes more efficient and American consumers become more accustomed to rewards programs, special offers, and discounts,” says Ed Gilligan, president at American Express.
Plenti is fluid. Points earned buying a tank of gas at an Exxon station can be redeemed on Macys.com. Every 1,000 points will translate to at least $10 in savings, though special promotional offers can earn consumers more points faster.
For Leah Anathan, chief marketing officer (CMO) at e-commerce solution PrestaShop, Plenti seems so obvious that she’s surprised it didn’t already exist.
“Loyalty programs are super powerful, but their effectiveness is up for debate when you look in your wallet and you have 15 loyalty cards,” Anathan says.
“This is interesting because they’re not putting competing brands under the same program,” she continues. “[American Express] was able to make a bigger splash because they can include all of these different names in different spheres.”
Anathan compares this loyalty program, which gives people the option to use any method of payment, to optional YouTube ads. She may not care about power steering, but she still watched the Volvo commercial featuring Jean Claude Van Damme’s famous split.
“As a marketer, when you give the consumer choice and put them in the driver’s seat, you win every single time,” she says. “[American Express] put the consumer at the center of the program and I feel it will be really positive for them.”
AmEx is open to more brand partners for Plenti. The program will launch later this spring.
Image via Shutterstock.
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