In case you missed it (ICYMI), below, we’ve compiled the biggest stories from around the web in February, featuring issues important to First Data clients including news about STAR Network’s utilization of machine learning to keep customer data safe, media coverage of First Data’s first earnings conference call since returning to public ownership, how Starbucks managed to sell gift cards to an estimated 46 million Americans last year with the help of First Data, and more:
A week ago . . . Todd Clark, SVP and Head of the STAR Network, spoke with industry publication PYMNTS this week to discuss specifically how STAR is leveraging machine learning. He noted that data, when coupled with machine learning, is "creating a smarter point of sale, in turn, enabling networks to chart a new path to growth."
Todd discussed our relationship with Feedzai, a machine learning fraud prevention company, and provided PYMNTS with "three things that are changing the way payment networks are keeping their participants’ data safe."
With regard to STAR, he said: "As fraudsters get smarter and faster, so must networks’ fraud detection." Todd added that STAR and First Data felt it was "imperative to integrate machine learning into our systems and that doing so is a significant differentiator."
Two weeks ago . . . First Data Chairman and CEO Frank Bisignano hosted a video town hall for all First Data owner-associates on Wednesday, following the earnings conference call with Wall Street analysts. If you were unable to tune into the live stream, we encourage you to watch the full replay that is now available on First Web.
As a publicly traded company, financial news outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, StreetInsider, and Zack's Research all covered our earnings, with Zack’s listing First Data as a “Strong Buy” stock and pulling five key takeaways from earnings.
"During a quarter that saw First Data return to public ownership, we were pleased to post continued revenue growth, solid margin expansion, and the refinancing of all our high cost debt earlier than planned. We expect 2016 to be a year focused on the execution of our growth initiatives and continued expense management."
Three weeks ago . . . First Data’s VP of Prepaid Solutions, Michael Hursta, penned an article for HUB Magazine, a Georgia tech news outlet, entitled “How Starbucks and First Data Drove $1.4 Billion in Sales through Gift Cards and Innovation,” (page 27).
Therein, Mr. Hursta outlined how First Data, starting in 2013, helped Starbucks increase sales and improve its loyalty program by increasing mobile app traffic, driving program membership signups, providing consumer data, and sending targeted promotions and coupons. In the piece, Hursta noted:
"Starbucks customers loaded $1.4 billion on the company's gift cards in the U.S. and Canada throughout the 2014 holiday season. Two-and-a-half million Starbucks gift cards were activated on Christmas Eve alone. Starbucks saw a 5% year over year growth in comparable store sales and 9 million more transactions in U.S. stores.”
With such a strong volume in sales, the results of the partnership between Starbucks and First Data have been described as nothing short of remarkable, making it so that when consumers think about gift cards and loyalty, it's hard not to think of Starbucks.
Also . . . The San Francisco Chronicle’s food blog, Inside Scoop, covered key findings from our SpendTrend Report that compared the NYC and San Francisco restaurant scenes.
In the story, the author linked to our initial coverage on FirstData.com, and reported, "For food lovers in San Francisco and New York, comparing and contrasting the restaurants in their respective cities is an avid pastime that’s akin to a friendly(ish) sibling rivalry. Now there are some new numbers to back up those comparisons."
Additionally, the article noted the following specific figures from the report: "For New York, the fastest growing restaurants included cafes/coffee/teahouses, delis and pizza. Cafes saw an upswing in growth from 6.4% in 2013 to 16.4% in 2015. During that same period, deli growth was up from 10.5% to 14.5% and pizza joints up from 3.4% to 5.9%."