Visa US ‘hugely focused’ on wooing retailers as it signs up Under Armour to online payment offering

Visa has signed up sportswear company Under Armour to its online payment offering as part of wider push to attract more retailers in the hope that it can push its own brand through merchant partnerships.

The finance company is eager to push the Visa Checkout digital service, which aims to simplify the checkout experience using a single sign-on mechanic across channels and devices. It is an exercise Visa hopes will bolster its brand, according to SVP head of North America marketing Lara Balazs.

“The biggest focus for North America is digital payments and for us Visa Checkout is an easy, seamless secure way to make payments on line – [it is] a huge focus,” she told The Drum.

“In focussing on [that area], we do a lot of work going to market with merchants that integrate Visa Checkout into their ecommerce platform... We are trying to be incredibly client centric and frankly build our brand through going to market.”

To do this Visa is working with its partners to create new marketing campaigns, essentially serving as an agency, which solve specific business problems. For example, in the US last year it worked with floral gift retailer 1800-Flowers to create a new “holiday” that would consequently ramp up sales outside of birthdays and other gifting occasion. The "Footballentines" campaign was crafted as a way for American football fans to soften the blow that they would be off watching a game during the football season and Visa gave them the opportunity to send 18 roses from 1800flowers.com to loved ones for free via Checkout, with consumers paying only for shipping and taxes.

“We ask merchants, ‘What opportunity are you trying to solve? What problems do you have? Do you need acquisition of consumers? Do you need to keep a leaky bucket from leaking?’ and we go in and not only do we increase conversion with this wonderful e-commerce play Visa Checkout but we also build a marketing campaign that addresses their needs,” explained Balazs.

Visa is also investing heavily in social media in North America with 50 per cent of its media budget now poured into all digital channels. It was one of the first brands to use Periscope, something it is keen to ramp up after seeing successful results around its NFL draft videos. “We will continue to use anything that allows us to communicate visually, you have to cut through visually you can’t stuff copy through everything,” said Balazs.

Putting Visa in front of millennials is another part of the company’s strategy and it recently awarded a $30,000 prize to a start-up called Reelio that describes itself as ‘the Match.com of brands and creators on YouTube’.

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