Toppan’s CLO to bring consumers to stores

Japan’s first open platform CLO service compatible with any credit card

Concept for the Toppan CLO Service. Photo Toppan

Toppan (TYO: 7911), a global enterprise in communication, security, packaging, décor materials, and electronics solutions has collaborated with Fidel API (Fidel), a global financial infrastructure platform, to establish Japan’s first card-linked offer (CLO) 1 platform to drive consumers to physical stores from online media and apps. The Toppan CLO Service, an open platform independent of credit card company systems, will be provided on a trial basis in fiscal 2021.

Recent years have seen rapid growth of Online Merges with Offline (OMO) services, which aim to attract consumers to physical stores with digital coupons and online campaigns. To authenticate coupons, however, stores often have to introduce additional devices, upgrade cash registers, and change procedures to respond to systems and operational requirements that differ between credit card companies. Users, meanwhile, need to own and use the specific credit cards handled by each store, and use is limited to certain cards in some cases.

To address these challenges, Toppan has leveraged Fidel’s system to develop an open platform CLO service that works with the system of any credit card company. This will enable Toppan to provide a service that both stores and users can take advantage of without any added burden.

Before going to a physical store, users select the offer they are interested in and register the credit card they want to use online. After using the card to pay at the store, they receive rewards such as points via online media. Users do not need to present a physical coupon or smartphone screen when they pay, and stores are not faced with the added burden of having to upgrade POS registers to be compatible with the individual systems of credit card companies so that they can offer rewards to card users.

The Toppan CLO Service is a pay-for-performance service. Stores pay advertising fees to Toppan based on the value of payments only when card users buy something in stores. Stores can therefore get a clear picture of cost-effectiveness as a measure to bring in customers.

The Toppan CLO Service will initially be rolled out to selected participating stores before the range of credit card brands that can be used is expanded. Toppan is aiming to drive the service further by increasing the number of participating stores and coordinating with other media, including the Shufoo!2 electronic advertising flyer service and Mirai no Chirashi3 (flyer of the future), a new service that supports sales promotion.

Toppan will also create a mechanism for tracking online to offline consumer movement through the CLO service and target consumer-data-driven smart supply chain management from manufacturer to retailer by compiling data on purchasing and visualizing effectiveness in attracting customers.

  1. CLO services deliver rewards from stores to credit card users based on credit card payment information. Such services attract consumers to stores with a model in which credit card users select the offers they want to take advantage of before visiting participating stores and receive rewards when they pay using the specific credit card.
  2. Shufoo! is Japan’s largest electronic advertising flyer service. It was launched by Toppan in August 2001 and is used predominantly by women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. The business was taken over by Toppan Group company One Compath in April 2019. Approximately 4,400 leading distributors and regional supermarkets and 120,000 stores are registered with the service. Shufoo! enjoys 450 million page views and 16 million unique users per month (as of October 2021; including ASP-based access). It also features functions for compiling and analyzing data on the number of times flyers have been viewed and which sections of flyers have been viewed most. Consumers can browse advertising flyers and other shopping information from stores throughout Japan on smartphones, tablets, PCs, and other devices.
  3. Mirai no Chirashi is a new sales promotion support service for the digital era launched on a trial basis in February 2021. It consists of “Hashtag Flyer,” a service for producing paper and electronic advertising flyers that promote products by theme; “Video Flyer,” a service for creating videos that promote understanding of advertising flyers; and “Personal DB Flyer,” which displays products on special offer every month for each theme.

Fidel API is a global financial infrastructure platform that enables developers to build programmable experiences at the moment a transaction occurs on any payment card. Launched in 2018, Fidel API is headquartered in London, with offices in Lisbon, New York, and remote employees globally. Fidel API is backed by investors including Nyca Partners, QED Investors, Citi Ventures, RBC Capital, and Commerce Ventures.

Established in Tokyo in 1900, Toppan is a diversified global provider committed to delivering sustainable, integrated solutions in fields including printing, communications, security, packaging, décor materials, electronics, and digital transformation. Toppan’s global team of more than 50,000 employees offers optimal solutions enabled by industry-leading expertise and technologies to address the diverse challenges of every business sector and society and contribute to the achievement of shared sustainability goals.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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