In a discounts space crowded by the likes of Groupon, LivingSocial, Google Offers, BuyWithMe, etc., American Express must now be reckoned with. Following its deepened Foursquare partnership, the credit card company – in conjunction with Facebook – has unveiled a “Link, Like, Love” app. It allows Amex users to access deals from a retailer when they either “like” the brand or check into a location via Facebook Places.
“American Express is well positioned to become a meaningful player in the deals space,” Lou Kerner, social media analyst for Wedbush Securities, told ClickZ News. “And their partnerships with industry leaders like Facebook and Foursquare highlight their focus on realizing that potential.”
The new social/mobile capabilities were touted by Amex execs earlier today as a boon for mom-and-pop stores, but retail chains have to be intrigued. Launch partners include Dunkin Donuts, Whole Foods, Sports Authority, H&M, and Outback Steakhouse. They now have a direct online and mobile connection to the virtual wallets of potentially millions of American Express users via Facebook. Once they enroll in the program, consumers can redeem deals without a paper coupon or help from the cashier or wait staff.
“So if you are out on a date, you don’t have to awkwardly ask the waiter, ‘Hey, can you redeem this coupon?'” quipped Dave Wolf, VP of global marketing capabilities for New York-based Amex, during a presentation.
Later on Tuesday, Kerner from Wedbush remarked, “This new Facebook program is a great integration of online and offline without the need for the consumer to take any additional action other than connecting the card to get the discount.”
In a few steps, Amex members can tie their accounts to Facebook; though the credit firm says the card and personal data is only stored on its servers. Then brands and merchants can target offers to consumers based on their Facebook data, including “likes,” friends’ “likes,” and check-ins.
AmEx will award credit amounts to card members’ accounts as consumers redeem offers. Rebate-like offers such as spending $20 to get a $10 Amex credit are available to merchants, as well as awarding repeat store visitors with loyalty discounts.
A Sports Authority offer posted to its Facebook page this afternoon: “Great news! We’ve found another way to easily reward our guests for shopping at Sports Authority. Starting today, you can turn your ‘Likes’ into savings by linking your Facebook and American Express accounts. Be one of the first 5,000 customers to link your Amex Card here http://on.fb.me/AmexDeal and unlock $20 off any purchase of $50 or more at any Sports Authority nationwide!”
Amex said a self-service platform, dubbed “Go Social,” lets smaller retailers run campaigns. Big brands can work directly with Amex client managers to orchestrate initiatives across dozens of bricks-and-mortar locations. In either case, they can push efforts simultaneously on Facebook and Foursquare, while providing an analytics platform Amex is lauding as second-to-none.
“We can tie digital behavior to offline spend in ways that have never been done before,” Wolf said. “And we can bring that information to the small merchants.”
Luke Gebb, VP of global marketing capabilities for Amex, added, “A merchant can test and learn a variety of tactics.”
Retailers will not be initially charged for running deals, but Gebb said there will eventually be fees for businesses employing the Go Social platform.