Rewarding shoppers with brand ownership: Bumped expands with a new browser extension

  • Bumped runs a service that rewards customers with fractional ownership of partner brands that they shop from.
  • The firm’s new browser extension notifies online shoppers every time their purchase is eligible for a stock reward.

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Rewarding shoppers with brand ownership: Bumped expands with a new browser extension

Brand loyalty is no longer simply tied to a good product. Firms seek deeper connections with individual customers to build dependable retention and stickiness. This has created a world where brands not only want to ideologically align with their target market and facilitate their specific purchasing habits but also reward them for their loyalty.

All sorts of methods have been tried and tested with rewards programs — like awarding points on purchases, or offering discounts on partner brands. Portland, Oregon-based Bumped took things one step further and built a network that rewards customers with equity at the brands they shop from. The firm likens this to “bringing Wall Street to Main Street”.

As of this month, the Bumped network has expanded to include a browser extension. While we may live in what feels like a mobile-first world, when it comes to online shopping, consumers still seem to favor desktop —- with a checkout completion rate of 52.5% as compared to 42.4% on mobile.

“Browser extensions, such as the Bumped Shopping Extension, are a great way to meet the consumer where they shop, offer them deals and rewards that enhance their experience, build greater brand loyalty, and in the case of our extension - give them the chance to own the brands they love in the simplest, most fluid way possible,” Amy Dunn, SVP of marketing and communications at Bumped, told Tearsheet.

How does Bumped work?

Functioning primarily as a B2B company, Bumped unlocks fractional stock ownership for end consumers. The firm works with brands and banks, leveraging their technology and brokerage to reward their customers in fractional shares of stock in their partners’ programs. For consumers, Bumped offers stock rewards for online shopping as a way to help people grow their fractional ownership and make the most of their Bumped brokerage accounts.

Here’s how Bumped works for users: consumers sign up for an account via the company website or a partner invite, and initiate an onboarding process that takes under two minutes. Users are given an ETF when they sign up with Bumped. They can customize and add stock reward choices on top of the ETF. Consumers can choose up to four Bumped-partner-retailers across different categories, with firms including Netflix, Adobe, Disney, and Mcdonald's participating. Users then proceed to connect a debit/credit card to the service, and shop. The process is then complete — as users spend at their chosen retailer, Bumped rewards them with ownership in that company. 

With the Shopping Extension, which can be downloaded from the Chrome Web store, shoppers are notified of an eligible purchase — all they have to do is click to activate and complete their purchase.

How does this work on the back-end? When consumers are rewarded via the Bumped platform, they receive real fractional shares of stock. The firm handles all of the stock purchasing, fractionalizing, and journaling associated with stock ownership.

Bumped Financial, LLC is a tech-first, wholly-owned broker-dealer that manages and oversees stock purchasing and distribution. Partner brands pay the reward amount (similar to a cashback reward), and the firm converts that into fractional ownership.

The value Bumped brings for brands and their customers

Bumped sees its program as a natural evolution of loyalty programs. The firm traces early iterations of rewards programs to ancient Egypt, where consumers were awarded commodity tokens, most commonly for beer and bread.

Bumped operates with the philosophy that in today’s economy, ownership promotes repeat engagement. Not only that, but a stake at a firm demotivates consumers from shopping at competitors, hence creating a new dimension of customer loyalty. 

“We’ve seen the evidence that access to ownership creates a mutually beneficial relationship between businesses and their customers — one that deepens loyalty while supporting customers’ long-term wealth goals,” Dunn said. “When a customer is rewarded in stock, we have found that on average they increase their monthly spend with the brand by 43%, visit 1.5 times more monthly, and spend an additional $51 a month, resulting in an overall 23x ROI for the cost of reward to the brand,” she further revealed.

Bumped’s company data suggests the same. A survey revealed that 89% of users think ownership is more exciting than traditional rewards like points or cash back, and 65% of them have told their friends about a company because of a stock reward.

Furthermore, the firm ran a two-year pilot study, with more than 80 participating brands, that rewarded over 13,000 US consumers in fractional stock rewards upon spending at the brands. Some data from the pilot was analyzed by the Columbia School of Business. It found that weekly spending, at the brand selected for the study, jumped by 40% after users received their Bumped brokerage accounts — accounting for an average of $23 in additional spending per week.

Let’s review a specific case. Among the brands in the pilot was fast-food giant McDonald’s. The study found that when customers were awarded a $5 stock reward in McDonald’s, they had a 120% increase in spending, even a full year later. 

Following an initial $5 worth of stock, shoppers were rewarded with an additional 3% worth of their spend in fractional shares. It was found that customers visited the company more often and spent an average of $12.37 more monthly.

"After a 15-year career in the loyalty and incentives space, I'm unaware of any reward initiative that has resulted in this level of consumer excitement, awareness, and behavior change," said David Nelsen, the CEO of Bumped. "Even a year later, these consumers were spending more than double what they were before becoming owners — a significant statement on lifetime value."

Financial performance in 2021

Since Bumped is a private company, it does not share its financials. In the past year, Dunn said the firm saw a 5x increase in signed enterprise deals and expects to double that number by the end of Q2 this year.

Another way the company looks at its growth internally is via its brokerage accounts, which it measured through the increase of consumers signing up for the Bumped web and mobile app, and through the brokerage accounts opened via partnerships. “Between January 2021 and January 2022, we’ve increased open brokerage accounts by 37%,” Dunn said.

Bumped was founded in 2017, and has since raised $30 million in funding. In November 2020, the firm closed its Series A round, raising $10.4 million. When asked about the next round of funding, we were told there’s “nothing to share quite yet.”

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