It’s back-to-school season across the country. There are car lines to wait in, extracurricular activities to sign up for, dorm rooms to decorate, and school supplies and first-day outfits to buy. If you have children and an email address, you’ve most likely seen an advertisement for sales and deals for products you need right now for this season.
Many retailers offer promotions targeted to college students and teachers this time of year. They may send these “gated offers” to other groups as well, such as military members, nurses, and first responders. This is a great way to entice consumers to shop and spend more with a brand. A high percentage of shoppers take advantage of these offers and may share them with friends or family who also qualify for the offer. Gated offers evoke a feeling of being rewarded by these companies, and these consumers often return to make additional purchases. Shoppers who receive gated offers find more appeal in those deals compared to the discounts available to everyone.
But brands need to protect themselves against fraudulent use of these exclusive, gated offers. Bad actors will almost certainly attempt to take advantage of these deals, with most brands reporting that they see approximately 35% in abuse of their targeted offerings. Consumers who qualify for an offer and then see that offer given to those who don’t qualify can lose respect and trust with the business and can diminish his or her interest in shopping with that brand.
They often share that experience with friends and family to spread the loss of trust even further. Don’t forget how often and how quickly social media posts about negative brand experiences go viral. This seemingly happens weekly, posts made by someone determined to spread information until a change is made or a problem is corrected. Additionally, bad actors can also share ways to bypass the verification, such as on a forum, message board, or through social media, either by sharing a link or allowing the use of their email address. This problem costs money to businesses that don’t take the proper steps to verify the authenticity of the shoppers’ association with the group(s) for which a gated offer is intended.
Kelton Global, a leading global insights firm, recently surveyed consumers about gated offers and found that a majority are willing to provide an email address to verify their information. These consumers also prefer that an independent third party verify their identity versus trusting the objectivity of the brand. The best way to counter gated offer fraud is with digital identity verification services that have authenticated and regulated data and records to help confirm the consumers targeted are truly associated with the targeted group. This goes a step beyond marketing data to give more validity to these associations.
Identity verification can help ensure these consumers are who they say they are based on the trusted partner taking the data and matching it with authenticated data sources. This verification can be done once, on occasion, or every time an offer is given. The verification frequency can depend on the desire to protect the brand and business from fraud, but also to carefully manage added friction to customers and retain their business. Verification at the time of acquiring a new customer for a targeted, gated offer can protect brands from discount fraud and lowers cost to acquire business.
To learn more about Acxiom’s consumer fraud mitigation and risk solutions, please click here.