Loyalty & Rewards

Acorns Turns Retailer Loyalty Points Into Investments

Acorns Starts Rewards Program

Once upon a time, retailers had one way to manage rewards programs: have shoppers make incremental purchases toward some distant (and often less-than-worthwhile) goal. However, years of lukewarm success followed by years of rapid innovation has granted the loyalty scene with some fresh new ideas. Ideas such as, why not just pay shoppers on the spot?

That’s the new angle of micro-investing app Acorns’ push toward retail rewards, and it’s already got several supporters in line.

Acorns announced its “Found Money” rewards integration initiative Monday (May 16), which will see five brands – Hotel Tonight, JackThreads, Jet.com, 1-800-Flowers.com and Dollar Shave Club – automatically invest in shoppers’ Acorns accounts in lieu of traditional rewards like stamps on a card or the promise of future discounts. Noah Kerner, CEO of Acorns, explained that since as many as 75 percent of his company’s users are millennials, a new way of doing rewards is necessary for retailers to break through to a younger demographic unwilling to put up with staid valued-shopper programs.

“Loyalty programs have been the same for eons,” Kerner said in a statement. “Everybody’s doing cash back. This generation wants cash forward. They want brands that take a vested interest in them. What better way to do that than to invest in their futures?”

Each retailer partnering with Acorns during the Found Money program will set their own rate for investment rewards, but a sample illustration on Acorns’ site shows an offer of a $20 deposit into accounts if consumers spend more than $100 on a booking through Hotel Tonight. Rebates are posted within 30 days as long as users link the cards they use as part of the purchases with their Acorns profiles.

“We know our guys are going to love the Found Money program,” said Mark Bufalini, director of marketing at JackThreads. “The majority of our audience is millennial guys who watch their money carefully. This partnership with Acorns allows us to reward them for everyday purchases by investing in their future and really goes a long way in strengthening our relationship with our customers.”

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