Visa Puts Marketing Muscle into SkyMall

Online shopping center skymall.com has lined up a powerful friend to help drive sales in the fourth quarter holiday shopping season, announcing an alliance today with worldwide credit card company Visa, Inc.

The skymall.com site is a division of in-flight shopping catalog company SkyMall Inc., which reaches more than 410 million travelers per year by putting its catalog in seat pockets on more than 68 percent of U.S. flights. The Visa alliance will impact the company’s printed catalog by providing Visa a more distinct presence as SkyMall’s preferred payment method, but the primary focus of the pair’s joint marketing effort will be to build SkyMall’s online presence.

Cross Promotions

Skymall.com will offer special deals for Visa cardholders and will include Visa marketing messages in all outgoing e-mail to shoppers and at the company’s call center. Visa will promote skymall.com in bill stuffers and through banner ads on its visa.com Web site. Skymall.com will also participate in holiday events and promotions Visa offers online. Visa will also add skymall.com to the list of merchants offering their products to Visa’s Instant Rewards and other customer loyalty programs.

During the fourth quarter, when more than half of all major gift purchases are made for the year, skymall.com will be a featured “Merchant of the Month” on Visa’s Web site.

Visa’s Shopping Partners

Visa has 21,000 member financial institutions, and more than 800 million Visa, Interlink, PLUS and Visa Cash cardholders generate nearly $1.4 trillion (US$) in annual transactions. Though skymall.com understandably expects a boost from its new alliance with Visa, it will not be the sole shopping service on Visa’s Web site. Skymall.com will join a dozen other “Visa Online Shopping Partners,” which include various product-specific vendors, such as Omaha Steaks, and one other shopping mall Web site: fashionmall.com.

However, skymall.com’s Web site is unique in the types of products and services it offers. The company has more than 100 retailers, catalog companies and information services on its Web site as well as in its print catalog.

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