Acorns, the U.S.-based micro-investment app that deposits the spare change from your purchases into an investment account, has launched a simple but potentially appealing reward programme for its largely Millennial user base. The programme, called Found Money, is a cash-back reward programme that allows partner brands to, as the company puts it, "invest in Millennials' futures."
Charter partners in its Found Money programme includes participating retailers Hotel Tonight, JackThreads, Jet.com, 1-800-Flowers.com and Dollar Shave Club. The programme allows brands to automatically invest in their customers' futures as a reward for shopping with them, shifting the paradigm from cash back to "cash forward." When customers spend money with these brands using the same cards that they have linked to Acorns, the companies will make an investment in their Acorns accounts. Money quote from Mark Bufalini, Director of Marketing for JackThreads:
"We know our guys are going to love the Found Money programme. The majority of our audience is Millennial guys who watch their money carefully. This partnership with Acorns allows us to reward them for everyday purchases by investing in their future and really goes a long way in strengthening our relationship with our customers."
Brands collaborating with the Found Money programme will have a continuous presence in customers' Acorns accounts with their investments clearly highlighted within the app experience. The company promises that more merchants will be added in the coming months. Money quote #2 courtesy of Acorns CEO Noah Kerner:
"Loyalty programmes have been the same for eons. Everybody's doing cash back. This generation wants cash forward. They want brands that take a vested interest in them. What better way to do that than to invest in their futures?"
The Bullet Point: What better way indeed? In one sense, Found Money is just another generic cash-back reward programme with nothing to differentiate it from the hundreds of other cash-back programmes that offer the same thing. What may prove a point of differentiation, however, is the branding. Acorns already provides a frictionless method for cash-strapped Millennials to become savers and investors; by seeking Millennial-targeting brands as partners in Found Money, the company is providing an additional friction-free way for their customers to bulk up their investment accounts over time. That combination of friction-free earning and a coalition of like-minded brands could prove that, when it comes to customer loyalty, from such tiny acorns do such mighty oaks grow.