Rewards Get Local With Affinity Solutions Mobile Rewards Finder and Sovereign Bank

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

A mobile app should do more than one thing. No one needs yet another ATM finder. This new app (now on iPhone, Android, and soon to be on BlackBerry) comes from Sovereign Bank. It has the usual ATM finder but, leveraging Affinity Solutions, it connects merchants eager for consumer business with cash-back rewards placed on the consumer’s Sovereign debit account. The app uses the consumer’s GPS to locate nearby participating merchants.

Affinity Solutions’ stated direction is intriguing. A wallet app that drives rewards seeking behavior could be powerful and its longer term vision is compelling.

The Rewards Finder App constitutes the first phase of the Affinity Wallet program, a comprehensive rewards offering that leverages multi-platform technology and Affinity’s national network of over 15,000 retailers and 430 banks to deliver the right offer to the right customer at the right time, based on analytic data compiling the shopping behavior of nearly 70 million customers.

Future additions to the Wallet offering will include point-of-sale receipts pointing shoppers to other local participating retailers, a “Rewards Toolbar” which annotates search results with relevant offers, an online banking portal that connects rewards offers to a user’s online statement, and integration with geosocial networks including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Loopt and Gowalla.

But, the power of the platform has everything to do with the merchants who participate and the products or services that generate the rewards. Consumers want to be in relationships with the merchants they use and are far less interested in random rewards from uninteresting merchants. The Affinity Solutions platform should keep that down to a minimum.

What is cool about this announcement is the intersection of a rewards network, social networking, and GPS with a bank (Sovereign), leading the way. Now, let’s see how effectively Sovereign markets the program. Just putting it onto a few apps stores won’t make much happen.

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