American Express has deployed Hyperledger’s blockchain technology to make its Membership Rewards program more versatile, marking the first application of blockchain technology to a major U.S. financial services loyalty program.
Under the revamped program, merchants will be able to create Membership Rewards offers on their own platforms to engage customers and at the same time offer card members more opportunities to earn points.
Rewards On Select Products
American Express is partnering with Boxed, an online wholesale retailer, on a pilot promotion for Membership Rewards enrolled members. Members can earn 5X Membership Rewards points for select products and brands.
American Express will initially provide rewards points to Boxed customers for Cheerios cereal, Planters nuts, Dove soap and a few other items, according to the Associated Press. American Express plans to make the program available to nearly all merchant partners in the coming months.
The technology has helped to target individual items, which in the past has proven challenging since merchants’ inventory systems differ from one another. Hyperledger blockchain technology enabled American Express to solve the problem so that merchants and American Express can create product-targeted offers.
More Versatile Promotions
Chris Cracchiolo, who oversees Membership Rewards at American Express, said merchants can develop programs based on time of day and day of week by encouraging the customer to download the merchant’s app. Merchants will have significantly more ways to reward customers.
While customers could be targeted for an offer based on spending behavior at a particular merchant under the Amex Offers program in the past, these offers could not target specific products.
Because American Express owns and manages the blockchain technology, merchants incur minimal setup time to participate in the program. American Express can get merchants’ offers up and running in weeks rather than months.
How It Works
A private channel on the company’s blockchain will allow merchants to send and receive information securely. The merchant will have control over the offers they wish to market, and they will be able to create custom Membership Rewards offers and designate SKU level bonuses.
American Express will have full visibility of the offers on the blockchain and will ensure the promotions conform to its brand values and merchant agreements.
Once the offers are available to customers, the smart contract will automatically send the anonymized transaction to American Express on the private blockchain. American Express will identify the card member and issue them their rewards points.
American Express will work with merchants to create the smart contracts for the offers.
The credit card giant is a premiere Hyperledger member, along with Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, IBM, Intel, Baidu and Accenture.
Marc Gordon, American Express information chief and vice president, said the company wants to take full advantage of blockchain to deliver innovative products for customers and partners when it joined Hyperledger.
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