There are many unknowns facing today’s big consumer brands. The rising costs of marketing and customer acquisition activities, along with escalating fulfillment operations and delivery costs, have called consumer brand profitability into question. Not to mention that inflation has already greatly impacted consumer behavior, and is having a direct negative effect on brands’ forecasts1. According to Retail Dive, Target’s recent warning of lower profit margins is a prime example of the effects of inflation on profits and a good indicator that other big-name brands will be making similar adjustments1.
What can brands do to remain competitive?
With consumers rethinking and reducing how much they spend on products; consumer brands will need to remain competitive and not just when it comes to price. To retain and win consumer loyalty, brands will need to get creative with their offerings. Embedded finance solutions, which can include adding financial services like, lending, insurance, buy-now-pay-later, cash-back rewards and loyalty options, digital or mobile wallets, or debit/credit cards into a single transaction, can be effective tools to generate revenue and build customer loyalty over time.
In fact, a new report from Cornerstone Advisors, The Embedded Finance Flywheel, found that consumers are interested in financial products from their favorite brands. For example, the research found that half of home improvement enthusiasts are interested in a savings account with Home Depot or Lowes where money can automatically be put aside for planned home improvement projects and that three-quarters of gamers are interested in an in-game account where they could deposit money that could later be used to buy and sell virtual in-game items and collect rewards.
This new report speaks to what they’re calling the “flywheel effect” or the idea that these financial products themselves are revenue generators but that they also lead to more consumer spend overall thanks to the ease, convenience, and dedicated financial relationship with the brand2. As evidenced in the report, 32% of consumers spent more money with the brand, 30% said they now choose the brand over competitors more frequently, and 27% report increased loyalty.2
Customers don’t always think of these interactions with brands in the same way they do with retail banks. They’re interested in the products they’re buying and often an easy-to-use financial product provides the convenience, savings, and frictionless experience that helps seal the purchasing deal time and time again. Think about it: If you just had to have the newest gaming device, would you stop at any old store on the way home from work? Or would you drive a little further out of your way to go to the store where you have a credit card, get 5% off every purchase, and can redeem loyalty points all in a single transaction? The impact to brands is clear. Embedded finance is all about providing extra value to your customers. Delivering a strong, seamless user experience makes transactions easier, quicker and with less confusion to your consumers. That’s a major value proposition to drive growth.
Now more than ever, today’s brands need a competitive edge to stay relevant among consumers and grow their base. Enhancing current embedded finance offerings can make the difference. Not to mention, with real-time data and a closer financial relationship with customers, brands with embedded finance solutions are better set with the information they need to put together effective customer retention and growth strategies.
About the Author: Walt Granville serves as Netspend’s Senior Vice President, Business Development. Walt leads a team of experts that are responsible for working with partners to unlock growth through payments and digital banking innovation. His Netspend partnership team has developed card programs, employer payment solutions and embedded finance offerings across multiple industries including; Technology, Gaming, Ecommerce, Lending, Fintech, Healthcare, Retail and Alternative Financial Services. An industry veteran with over 20 years of experience in the US and European financial services and payment industry, Walt has held roles managing strategic partnerships and product innovation teams for payment networks, processors, issuers and technology innovators. Prior to joining Netspend, Walt held various roles with Visa, First Data, Affinion Loyalty Group, and Monitise.
1. Retail Dive, “As inflation bites, retailers cut guidance,” August 2, 2022 https://www.retaildive.com/news/inflation-retailers-cut-guidance/628342/
2. Forbes, “How Brands Like Home Depot, Coach, And Playstation Will Make Millions Selling Financial Services,” July 12, 2022 https://www.forbes.com/sites/ronshevlin/2022/07/12/how-brands-like-home-depot-coach-and-playstation-will-make-millions-selling-financial-services/?sh=1e8fcf6637be