Visa is the latest marketer to develop a digital product extension in an effort to tie consumers more closely to the brand.
The San Francisco-based credit-card giant has launched Rightcliq , a free online shopping tool designed to make e-commerce more social. The app lets users create wish lists as they shop, obtain feedback from friends, view special offers, pay for transactions with stored information and track shipments.
What it doesn't do is explicitly push Visa. In fact, Rightcliq gives users the choice of credit cards to use, including Visa competitors like MasterCard.
"Consumers told us loud and clear, 'This needs to reflect what's in my back pocket,'" said Charlie Wilson, Visa's senior business leader for e-commerce and authentication.
The application is aimed at two groups of customers: young trendsetters and shopping enthusiasts. Visa research found that these segments make up 20 percent of the online shopping population and account for 26 percent of spending, consummating on average 10 transactions per month.
"We realized consumers would be inspired by a product that could allow them to do this in one place in a holistic fashion," Wilson said.
With Rightcliq, Visa hopes to fuel more e-commerce, which Wilson said is its "fastest-growing channel," by making the process easier and more fun. Visa found that despite the sophistication of Web tools, many online shoppers aren't so sophisticated when it comes to using them. Half said they used written lists or bookmarks; and more than 90 percent said they'd do more shopping if they could easily compare items and see discounts.
Visa's move is similar to efforts by Nike and Fiat in the digital product extension realm. And in a world where online commerce is expanding, the goal is to make Visa synonymous with the best way to shop, Wilson said.
"The e-commerce channel isn't going anywhere," he said. "Our product road map will continue. This is a living, breathing product that will continue to evolve."
Visa created the concept and handled most of the development in-house. The company enlisted help in honing its vision from design consultancy Ideo, while digital shop AKQA crafted the online marketing strategy and Social Arc handled social media work.
Visa's campaign to promote the app will target trendsetter and shopper audiences on sites like Daily Candy, Gawker, Federated Media properties, Pitchfork and Yahoo Shine.
The push leans heavily on integrations that encourage trial. For instance, shopping blog WhoWhatWear.com co-founders Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr will integrate the app into their content. Gawker is holding a "Wish Big" contest for readers to win wish lists they create via that app.
"We felt like that was core to all of this, to get them using the product and put it to work," said Bob Pullum, group creative director at AKQA in San Francisco.