Credit Unions Win Big on Amazon Prime Day – Especially Goldenwest CU

Credit Unions Win Big on Amazon Prime Day – Especially Goldenwest CU

Credit Unions Win Big on Amazon Prime Day – Especially Goldenwest CU

“If we’re not paying close attention to everything our competition is doing, they’ll take us over.”

That’s the mindset Louise Hilliard applies every day at Goldenwest Credit Union. And it’s serving her and the credit union well. As Senior Vice President of Payment Services for the Utah credit union, Hilliard has increased spend on each of Goldenwest’s four credit card products by at least 35 percent each year.

She credits much of the portfolios’ growth to three things:

  1. Keeping an eye on the “new” competitors, namely Amazon, PayPal, Apple and other digital payment providers.
  2. Gaining a rich view of cardholder behavior by insisting on strong business intelligence and easy access to data.
  3. Giving cardholders a compelling reason to choose her credit union’s card for every transaction.

Each of these strategies came together perfectly for the credit union on Amazon Prime Day 2018, making it one of the card team’s highest-performing events in the cooperative’s history.

Keeping It Interesting with Fresh Promotions

Goldenwest’s robust marketing calendar, although mapped out at the beginning of the year, is agile enough to respond to trends spotted by Hilliard and the credit union’s data. This year, after learning that 70 cents out of every dollar spent online is spent on Amazon, Hilliard challenged the data team to give her as much intelligence as possible about Goldenwest cardholders’ Amazon spending behaviors.

The learnings became the basis for the credit union’s Amazon Prime Day promotion.

To encourage cardmembers to use their Goldenwest credit card for Prime Day shopping, the cards team offered triple points for purchases made during the 36-hour period that Amazon designated as Prime Day 2018. Because Hilliard and her team have spent years cultivating a rich and engaging rewards program based on redemptions for experiences (rather than merchandise), the promotion was hugely successful.

“The results far exceeded my expectations,” said Hilliard. “We increased volume over last year’s Prime Day activity by 127 percent!”

Earning the Default Payment Position

Another outcome of the promotion Hilliard suspects, but has not yet been able to measure, is that many cardholders may have set their Goldenwest credit card as the default payment method while they were logged into Amazon. Triggering these “set it and forget it” behaviors are a major priority for Hilliard who says much of the marketing and promotions they will roll out this year will be designed to get cardholders using their cards for ongoing purchases.

Deb Wieczorek, Director, Portfolio Advisory, with CO-OP Financial Services, couldn’t agree more. “Credit union issuers are paying more attention to Amazon Prime members, as they spend an average of $1,400 every year on Amazon alone. This is a critically important segment to engage as credit unions look to enhance their visibility with digital consumers. If it isn’t already, getting their credit union’s card loaded into Amazon as the preferred payment method should be a high priority for most cards teams. Now is an ideal time to partner with CO-OP’s SmartGrowth team to pursue that goal, as the holiday shopping season will be here before we know it.”

Credit Union Card Issuers Saw Big Jumps on Prime Day 2018

Amazon Prime Day 2018 – 36 hours of discount shopping held mainly on July 17 – recorded more than 100 million customer orders, making it a banner day for the e-commerce site, but also for the nation’s credit unions.

In fact, according to data analysis by CO-OP, the number of Prime Day 2018 transactions inside the CO-OP credit card portfolio was up more than 41 percent compared to Prime Day 2017. What’s more, total dollars spent was up 61 percent year over year.

Goldenwest’s results far exceeded the average credit union’s Prime Day bump-up, which supports the idea that promotions work, especially when they are part of an ongoing strategy cardholders can see coming.

For Hilliard, keeping cardholders engaged means putting them on the edge of their seats, anxiously awaiting what’s next. “If you keep doing the same thing, people lose interest,” said Hilliard, who says new promotions roll out quarterly if not every other month at Goldenwest. “We’ve conditioned our cardholders to expect something new, and we’re beginning to see them plan their purchases around our promotions.”

Data Analytics is Critical to Spotting Opportunities

Hilliard also believes strongly in watching the competition closely, especially digital providers like Amazon. The objective is to observe the moves these companies are making, and when possible, get there first. After Hilliard learned Amazon may soon be offering checking accounts, she quickly organized a campaign to offer area college students a free Amazon Prime membership when they opened a checking account with Goldenwest.

Watching the competition is one thing; watching your own cardholders is another. After talking with her colleagues at a recent CO-OP Roadshow event, Hilliard came away believing it’s more important than ever for credit unions to do whatever it takes to get their data analytics competency solidified.

“If you’re not looking at analytics every day, you’re missing opportunities,” she said. While Hilliard acknowledges it’s not easy, she also said it’s within reach. And, she insists, data analytics gets easier over time. “When I first began asking our data team for insights, it would take hours to get the data in my hands. What I learned, however, was that each time I made an inquiry, they were writing macros and building out functionality to make it easier next time. When I ask for cardholder data today, it essentially takes the push of a button.”