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Using loyalty to build the bridge between banks and their customers

A bank card (credit / debit) is so much more than a tool you simply use to pay your bills or buy groceries. It empowers you to live your life to the fullest – from booking your dream holiday to dining out at the hottest new restaurant.

Flipping this perception is what Emirates NBD (ENBD) wanted to achieve and together with Horizontal Digital ENBD MORE was born – a mobile rewards programme app that offers its credit cardholders exclusive access to thousands of hyper-personalized retail, entertainment and travel offers, enabling them to live their best lives.

ENBD is the largest consumer bank in the Middle East and one of the most recognized brands in the region. In an “overbanked” market like the UAE, they already control 25% of the consumer credit card market and a substantial portion of the debit card market, but in order to further expand that footprint, ENBD needed to create a new digital experience that no other bank could offer.

Following the successful launch of Liv., a ground-breaking digital-only lifestyle bank targeting millennials and Gen Z prospects, ENBD approached Horizontal to orchestrate a unique customer experience that would change the way their cardholders feel about their bank cards. Powered by Sitecore Commerce, the goal of the app was to add MORE value to customers’ lives, building loyalty and boosting their engagement with the brand to ultimately increase spending.

The Situation

The challenge of making rewards personal 

A plethora of new marketplaces and Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) commerce platforms sprung up during the pandemic offering a seamless, highly-personalized and real-time experience that consumers have now become accustomed to. Against this backdrop, non-retail brands that haven’t played in the ecommerce space can find it hard to compete. 
ENBD had an existing reward-based incentive programme that offered discounts, but in the absence of a sophisticated commerce platform delivered into the hands of their customers via a mobile app that was powered by real-time data, customers weren’t always getting offers when and where they wanted them. In addition to this, cardholders weren’t necessarily aware of what benefits/discounts were available to them based on their card type. 
In the absence of a sophisticated commerce platform powered by real-time data, Horizontal created an app offering a highly personalized customer experience, increasing their engagement, while enticing prospects with the promise of exciting lifestyle perks that no other bank in the region could offer.

The response

A personalized marketplace 

If it’s Friday night and you’re looking for somewhere to eat with friends who love Chinese food, you’ll be interested in relevant, real-time offers for nearby Asian restaurants, not a discount for a gym on the other side of the city. 
In order to maintain interest and drive engagement, the intuitive MORE app ‘learns’ the preferences and interests of each individual from food and restaurant type to budget and location so the customer gets the offer that best suits their tastes. It also does this for other types of leisure preferences, matching shopping deals, flights, hotels and ticket offers to customers. 
Horizontal achieved this deep level of personalization by harnessing the powerful personalization capabilities of Sitecore to create an app that assimilates existing information on the preferences customers select when downloading the app, their in-app behaviors and their geo-location, to put the right deal in front of the right customer at the right time. 
Since this kind of implementation had never been done on Sitecore Commerce 9.3, Horizontal’s long-standing relationship with Sitecore helped overcome development hurdles to support customization and deployment efforts, realizing the vision for CX in the MORE app. 
ENBD partnered with premium brands like Amazon, MasterCard, ClearTrip, Headout, and Musafir on MORE to enable customers to live their best life with deals on dining, shops, flight and hotel bookings, as well as tickets to shows. 
The app was recently updated to include a new “Shop by Amazon” experience that lets clients shop for groceries, personal care, beauty products and electronics using their ENBD card for cashback and rewards. Customers will also be able to purchase Mastercard gift cards for special occasions. 
To keep things fresh and engaging every time a customer opens the app, the user interface (UI) shows a new list of personalized deals interspersed with lists related to customer preferences. App users can also enable automated notifications on MORE so they're the first to know when a new deal or offer drops. 
For brands that are not traditional retailers, utilizing a partner’s commerce-as-a-service offering helps to de-risk an adventure into ecommerce. With MORE, Horizontal is the merchant of record and handles all the behind-the-scenes operations from fulfillment to payments and promotions, freeing ENDB up to focus on what it does best: servicing banking customers.

The results

Enriching lives while building brand loyalty 

By embracing a customer-first mentality with MORE, ENBD stands out as the only bank in the region that provides customers with an intelligently personalized experience that enhances their individual lifestyles — while also building loyalty and expanding market share for its bank card business. 
Building a commerce-as-a-service solution has provided a path to address a gap by offering a simple commerce experience for almost any purchase the customer wants to make. It is revolutionary in the way the bank can build better relationships with its customers and this is evidenced with increased time on app, return visits and downloads, and ultimately happy customers.

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