Blackhawk Network Serves up Grocery Customers to Amex (June 19, 2014)
Earlier this month American Express announced several new budgeting capabilities it’s adding to Serve, along with expanded retail distribution in Safeway and other retailers through a new partnership with Blackhawk Network. The partnership marks Serve’s first appearance in a grocery chain, and Safeway is the first of many Blackhawk partners, including OfficeMax and Hy-Vee, that will be distributing the card.
Rouzbeh Rotabi, vice president of business development, Blackhawk Network, tells Paybefore that expanding Serve’s reach to different types of retailers, including grocery, is key to reaching one of American Express’ target demographics—millennials. “It’s not just about quantity of reach; it’s about quality,” Rotabi says. “The average consumer spends more time in a grocery store with a higher average basket compared to convenience or drug store, which allows them to learn more about the product and its features.”
Just as broader retail distribution could be a boon for American Express, Rotabi says Blackhawk’s retail partners are eager to offer Serve in their stores. “First, it’s the power of the American Express brand. With Serve specifically, retailers like that they’re targeting a broader demographic than unbanked consumers,” says Rotabi, pointing to Serve’s high balance limit. “Finally, our retail partners want to have a best-in-class product set and offer consumers a convenient and simple shopping experience.”
As more and more GPR cards hit the market, Blackhawk isn’t concerned about market saturation because, as Chief Marketing Officer Teri Llach notes, “Consumers want choices.” Blackhawk’s consumer research continues to show that as GPR cards become more mainstream, consumers are using multiple cards to meet their financial needs. “I’ve talked to consumers who have two or three of these cards: One is for entertainment, another is for gas and another is for bills—that’s how they stay in control of their budgets.”
In addition to its distribution deal with Blackhawk, American Express has joined Blackhawk’s Reloadit Network. Serve cards now can be reloaded at participating stores in Blackhawk’s nationwide distribution network.
See related stories: