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AIB Merchant Services helping businesses leverage the power of advanced analytics

Main Street Insights provides key insights based on customer card usage

‘Main Street Insights provides users with a comparison against similar businesses in respect of revenue, transaction volumes and average transaction values.’

‘Main Street Insights provides users with a comparison against similar businesses in respect of revenue, transaction volumes and average transaction values.’

 

AIB Merchant Services has just launched Main Street Insights, a new free tool to help its customers understand more about their customers and their competitors, which will ultimately aid them in making more informed business decisions. Main Street Insights provides a level of local analysis that is not otherwise available to physical stores. It provides unique insights based on customer card usage, and the data insights provided are specific to the business in question.

“Main Street Insights provides users with a comparison against similar businesses in respect of revenue, transaction volumes and average transaction values,” explains AIB Merchant Services general manager Hubert O’Donoghue. “It does this by comparing businesses in the same industry and within a close geographic proximity to the trading location of the store.”

Trends

It also provides approximations for where customers live and spend. “It provides customer demographic information such as age and gender profiles, and how these relate to higher or lower spend,” he notes. “It shows trends in respect of new versus returning customers and allows businesses to compare their trading performance against previous time periods.”

Very importantly, all data used is fully compliant and adheres to the relevant guidelines and regulations, ensuring that no individual customer or business can be identified when using the tool.

O’Donoghue gives some examples of the benefits of Main Street Insights for businesses in different sectors. “A small owner-operated business can use the data to create social media ads that have very specific targets based on the demographic and geographic insights contained in the platform,” he points out. “This ensures that any ad campaigns or leaflet drops are focused on the most pertinent targets, therefore maximising results from minimum ad spend. For example, a coffee shop in Clontarf, Dublin, can see how many of its customers are coming from Raheny and Artane and target social media activity on individuals living in these areas.”

Average spend

Similarly, a small owner-operated business can use the data to understand more about its recurrent customer base and develop a targeted loyalty programme to support an increase in the average spend of such customers.

“For example, a butcher in Bandon, Co Cork, can see which residential streets in the surrounding areas represent the highest density of customers and focus their promotions on these precise locations,” O’Donoghue explains. “Multi-outlet chains can benefit from using the tool to get on-the-ground information about individual stores and use this information to plan and chart marketing activity across the chain.”

In that case, a marketing manager with responsibility for managing promotion and revenue growth across a chain of coffee shops can use Main Street Insights to plot campaigns, assess their effectiveness and report back to senior management.

“With historic data and insights, businesses can use Main Street Insights to help them with bigger, strategic decisions, such as optimum locations for expansion based on where customers live and spend,” he adds. “For example, a hairdresser in Ennis, Co Clare, sees that they don’t have many existing customers living in Lahinch, and they could therefore set up a new salon there without cannibalising existing trade.”

The tool also offers a 20-month look-back feature. “This is a powerful illustrator of trading position and customer demographics before Covid and as we emerge from restrictions, making it a useful tool in assessing how business has changed before, during and after the pandemic. We’ve seen that this has been particularly illustrative of significant consumer shift towards supporting local businesses.

“Main Street Insights can be an invaluable tool to assess the effectiveness of any marketing activities by showing movement in average spend, increases in new or returning customers, and locations from which customers are attracted,” he adds. “Businesses can use this data to deduce insights that could otherwise cost them money to procure through outsourced research.”

Retail chains can also use the tool to compare the performance of different outlets. “Main Street Insights works by looking at the exact trading location of the business in question and providing information that connects to that very location and the customers and businesses that surround it,” O’Donoghue explains.

“Therefore, it has been designed in such a way that a user can very easily navigate between stores from within one single interface.”

Main Street Insights is free of charge to AIB Merchant Services customers. All AIB Merchant Services customers in the Republic of Ireland who take payments using an AIB Merchant Services card machine are eligible for Main Street Insights.

And AIB Merchant Services can look forward to further innovations. “Our primary focus is on providing solutions that add value to our customers, beyond processing credit and debit card payments,” O’Donoghue points out.

“We have a number of innovations in the pipeline, including those in the areas of client onboarding and self-service. We’re continuously working on extending the capabilities of Clover – our point of sale solution – to support broader business functions through its app market. And, of course, we hope to further expand the feature set of Main Street Insights in the not too distant future.”