The Cards & Loyalty Programme was a business-critical and ground breaking programme. It needed rigorous, delivery-focused management and with Bluerock's help we delivered to time, cost and quality.

Stuart Senior
Director of IT and Change
, Marks and Spencer

    Market Comment

    The Cards industry confronts a variety of challenges as the market evolves through the economic downturn. Whilst Cards payments have been disproportionately hit in reduced consumer spending, the recent prospect of consumer credit reform and security problems further threaten profits.

    In our view, such times call for companies to focus on existing portfolio improvement - all too often overlooked or misunderstood - rather than customer acquisition. Card portfolio rationalisation and optimisation are now seen as pre-cursor to new product development, migrations, and other complex business change; leaving companies both more profitable now, and well-placed for economic growth. But whilst such health-checks are key, a lean, optimised and diversified portfolio will look different for each provider. Companies would also be well-advised to consider any subsequent cuts to the portfolio against the changing definition of what makes a ‘good customer' - keeping in mind the potential negative impact on customer relations should they dismiss a portfolio segment too hastily. Indeed, there are plenty of solutions to address the problem of inactive cardholders, designed to prompt existing customers' plastics back to the coveted front-of-wallet position. New products, including loyalty programmes, have been used with this aim in mind, and Bluerock has a strong track-record of managing, and delivering such developments.


    Interesting Links

    ‘A Better Deal for Consumers' - The government white paper behind the headlines

    Glossary - Useful definitions of key terms from APACS

    Review of the UK domestic Cheque Guarantee Card Scheme - From the Payments Council

    Cards & Loans - Consumer advice from the FSA's Money Made Clear site