As social commerce gets more momentum, we are seeing new innovative ways to integrate social into every aspect of the shopping process. Classic reward and loyalty programs are starting to move toward the integration of their loyalty card users’ databases with users’ Facebook data and beginning to leverage the Facebook friend social curve. Three recent Facebook examples are the Amex Link, Like, Love app, the Citibank ThankYou Points sharing app, and Starbucks Rewards.
Many Facebook users have become comfortable when presented with a Facebook Permissions dialogue box, saying “yes” to permissions from companies asking for access to basic profile information like gender and name to more detailed information like a user’s birthday or movie preferences to authorization to post status updates on shoppers’ Facebook walls. These recent loyalty apps for Amex and Citibank are for a new level of permissions, allowing for the link between the user’s bank data and the user’s Facebook data.
Take, for example, the Citibank ThankYou Rewards program, a classic credit card loyalty program that rewards users’ purchasing behaviors. Last year, Citi introduced a service called “Transfer Points,” a ThankYou Rewards feature that allows members to give ThankYou Points to other ThankYou members.
This all comes together and becomes social with the recent launch of the Citibank Facebook application called ThankYou® Point Sharing App. The app integrates Facebook users’ data with the users’ Citibank ThankYou Rewards program. The Facebook app allows the users to set up a Point Pool with Facebook friends to transfer available ThankYou Points to one another. In order to transfer points, all members need to be enrolled in the Citibank Rewards program. Citibank is also giving away 2,500 free Rewards points to each of the first 4,000 customers to sign up.
“The first time ever, ThankYou Members can share their ThankYou Points to get rewards with their Facebook friends. Pool your points for gifts, charitable donations or for almost anything you and your friends have been dreaming about.”
Citibank Facebook Page
Amex’s Link, Like, Love application launched last summer links Facebook users’ data with their Amex card to deliver personal coupon deals, based on the cardmembers “likes” and interests. This program offers up to the Facebook user exclusive coupon-less deals from companies that the user or the user’s friends “like” on Facebook. It also allows merchants to participate in setting up the consumer Facebook coupon deals through a proprietary service call “Go Social.”
Starbucks has incorporated game mechanics into its popular loyalty program with Starbucks Rewards. By incorporating multiple levels and associated rewards and perks per level with a progression tracker, users are incented to continually engage with the brand. This Rewards experience is integrated into the Starbucks Card. The Starbucks Card can be managed through the Starbucks Card Facebook app, mobile app, and on Starbucks.com. Though a user can buy a friend a cup of coffee inside Facebook with their Starbucks card, they can’t yet transfer their Starbucks rewards to their Facebook friends, but assume it is only a matter of time.
To clarify a bit, on the access of personal Facebook information with these financial products, for example, the Citibank app can collect personal information from Facebook profiles, but Citi does not share any customer account information with Facebook. The same holds true for Amex and Starbucks. Kudos to these companies who are taking social commerce to a new level.
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If you’re a brand selling high-consideration, ‘big ticket’ items like appliances, cars or luxury goods, the customer journey is vitally important.