Partnerships
 
Chipotle Partners with Venmo to Take Its Rewards Program National
After testing Chipotle Rewards in several markets, the casual burrito chain is taking its loyalty program nationwide. “The company also announced it is teaming up with digital wallet company Venmo for launch week, depositing surprise amounts of $1 to $500 in fan’s accounts through March 15. Chipotle will become the first restaurant to have its own branded emoji — the Chipotle pepper — on Venmo, used for splitting and sharing payments.”
 
Digital wallets are becoming increasingly popular, so that move should boost the brand’s appeal. Admittedly, the rewards program seems late in coming, given the number of fast, casual competitors that appeared in the last decade.
 
Acquisitions
 
Mastercard Purchases Ethoca to Strengthen Fraud Detection
The card network has purchased the Canadian fraud solution. Ethoca is powered by collaboration between banks and merchants, and now Mastercard is bringing its services in-house. “Ethoca is a strong addition to our multilayered cyber strategy, helping customers take immediate action against fraud and eliminate chargebacks before they can occur,” says Ajay Bhalla, Mastercard’s President of Cyber and Intelligence Solutions.
 
Customer Experience
 
Gift Cards Get Personalized
Brett Glass, founder and CEO of Gift Card Impressions, a company recently acquired by InComm, talks about trends to come in the gift card industry, including micro gifts. “Glass provides the examples of two movie tickets or a Cosmo cocktail at the giftee’s favorite restaurant. That level of customization personalizes the gift and improves the experience compared to the denomination-focused gift cards as they stand today.”
 
Tech
 
The Rise of the Robo-Salesman?
A University of Oxford study predicts up to 50 percent of human jobs are at risk of being usurped by robots. While some suggest that the safest careers will be those that demand creativity and emotional intelligence, others suggest that even jobs that depend on reading individuals’ emotional states, such as careers in sales, will be taken over by AI.
 
Ad-tech Ecosystem Targeted by Hackers
Devcon is a cybersecurity company for the media industry. It has stated that it has “found several polyglots—malware that uses complex code to disguise itself within an image—inside of what appear to be digital ads pretending to be from brands.” Devcon “didn’t disclose which websites served up malicious ads, but so far, the fraudulent ads have been seen in ad servers including GumGum and Yahoo, with a handful of sites attacked as many as 50,000 times over the past few weeks.” In the loyalty space, we’re always looking at the security of customer data. Let’s not forget that there are other malicious activities happening on the worldwide web.
 

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