So - not the most original title, but I did promise a follow-up to my recent blog post: "Can Big Data and Payments Drive Loyalty in Consumer Banking?"

In the 'consumer edition' of the blog - also on Finextra, I suggested that banks can reinvigorate their payments brand and influence customer loyalty by integrating incentives and offers to their payments solutions. The premise is that banks are missing out on an opportunity to become more influential in where people shop and what they buy, rather than just how they pay. Offers can be driven by analytics into a combination of historical payments information and big data analysis of demographics, location positioning and peer group analysis. Such a strategy requires more than an offers solution, or a mobile banking app. It requires a platform strategy for building and integrating enterprise grade payment solutions with data analytics, an offers platform, and a host of mobile devices. However, banks have the opportunity to deliver far more than just offers to a retail banking customers. This edition looks at the value banks can take the same payments modernization initiative and drive value (and in turn loyalty) to their business and merchant customers.

When acting almost as a 'Groupon' for behavior-linked offers, banks can also drive a complete new range of services to their business customers - small businesses in particular. Most of the current card-linked offers programs are designed to drive the offers of major retailers and merchants - typically those that may be payment acceptance customers of the bank in question. But what of small business and merchant customers? Business customers need more from their banks - they need solutions that help them operate more efficiently and solutions that help them grow their revenues. How can a bank add such value to the chain of local bakeries it services? By creating new product that helps small businesses compete with mega-retailers. 

A Platform for Commerce
By taking the platform approach - rather than just an offers engine (which is valuable in its own right), the bank can offer business customers a white-labeled incentives and payments service. The bakery in this example can create its own offers and incentives for seasonal items, regular customers, or to attract first time customers from the competition. The bank - through analysis of payments and spending patterns - then acts as the distribution vehicle of those offers through its online and mobile banking channels to the retail customer base. data analysis can also show the business customer how successful the uptake of their offers has been, and help them target new potential customers. In this case the 'platform' not only delivers offers to consumers, it is driving offers created by small businesses on the bank's payments platform service. If I was a small or medium business, I would be thrilled if my bank helped me compete to grow my business in this way! 

Leading banks will integrate this to their merchant acceptance solutions and so use commerce to complete the value chain between their business and consumer lines of business.In fact - I call this Payments Platform as a Service - a transaction platform then allows businesses to build offers, retail customers to 'clip' offers to their phone, and then redeem then at point of sale of the business in question. Merely providing offers to retail banking customers isn't enough to transform payments and grow the bank's bottom line - but using a platform to connect retail customers directly to business customers just might be.

Meet us at Sibos
At Sibos Dubai, I welcome the opportunity to debate this topic with you, and our team looks forward to showing you solutions that leverage the payments transaction to increase customer loyalty and lower customer churn across the consumer bank. Email us if you would like to schedule a meeting with Microsoft financial services leadership team and come to see us all at Stand D108, just adjacent to the main SWIFT stand.