Customer Acquisition: Converting New-to-File & Lapsed Customers

Empyr’s card-linked platform is designed to help brands acquire, engage, and retain customers by delivering convenient cashback offers while providing brands with a valuable alternative to wasteful online ad spend. In today’s omnichannel environment, we understand that the relationship between a brand and a customer is not always a linear one, and believe that marketing efforts and dollars should be distributed in an insightful way that is backed up by real data. 

In this post we take a look at the process of customer acquisition; in particular, how Empyr can help acquire new-to-file customers, re-engage with lapsed customers, and build customer loyalty through relevant, targeted advertising.

New-to-File Customers: The Lifeblood of Growth

A “new-to-file” customer is typically a new customer within your database and/or somebody who has no purchase records with your brand. However, some companies, for example companies with frequent purchases like QSR or restaurants, might consider someone who hasn't visited in 12-24 months as "new to file". 

While it is really up to the brand to determine the parameters for each classification,  new-to-file customers are the lifeblood of growth for any customer-driven company, as expanding the customer base provides more opportunities for transactions both in the short and long term; an ever-expanding pool of new-to-file customers creates constant opportunities to create brand loyalty and increased revenue over time.

Perhaps most importantly, the distinction between “new-to-file” and “existing user” is central to growth strategy, since it is one of the most important factors in projecting acquisition costs; new to file customers are the hardest and most expensive customers to acquire. 


Elevated Prospecting with Empyr

Prospecting for new-to-file customers can be a challenge for brands. Historically, the answer has been to throw money at loosely defined audience targets and personas with aggressive branding plays including banner ads and social media advertising. Card-linked offers provide an alternative to these generic prospecting approaches by piggybacking on existing apps and sites that customers use all the time (Acorns, Yelp, etc.). This way, the customer is “virtually introduced” via an app/platform they already trust.

Built-in trust elements incentivize the customer to take part in new offers and promotions at a fraction of traditional customer acquisition costs. Rather than relying solely on their own branding pushes to get their offer out to the public, advertisers can “attach” to a trusted existing brand or app to drive visibility and awareness through a targeted offer.

This prospecting strategy is especially effective during cultural moments that resonate with your audience: holidays, seasons, and major events. Brands understand that these events can shift otherwise stubborn purchase behavior, making it an ideal opportunity to capture new customers and share of wallet from competitors. By connecting brands with publishing partners to provide cashback offers on items that the customer needs right now, prospecting becomes even more powerful.

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Lapsed Customers and Why They Are Important

Lapsed customers, or customers who haven’t made a purchase within a certain time period (as defined by your brand), are strong prospects to re-engage with as they are familiar with your brand and have purchased before. Putting together targeted and customized campaigns for this audience — and making a concerted effort to win them back — can pay big dividends through increased purchase frequency and ticket size.

A card-linked offers platform provides a convenient and effective way to incentivize lapsed customers to return to purchasing consistently with your brand. Cashback offers on frequently purchased items can be the difference between a sale at your store vs. another brick-and-mortar location competitor.

An Extra Layer of Loyalty

With the number of cards that we carry on us growing at a rapid rate, it's important to take on an approach to loyalty that doesn’t rely on squeezing yet another card into an already overstuffed wallet. There is no doubt that having a bunch of cards in your wallet is a hassle, and since card-linked offers live on the consumer’s credit card, there is no need to carry around an additional loyalty card. Customers benefit from the added convenience, while brands enjoy the traditional benefits of customer retention and increased purchase frequency that make loyalty programs so valuable. 

Card-linked offers “take the friction out” of loyalty programs, giving brands a better chance to strengthen their relationship over time. This happens in two primary ways: 

  1. Cashback offers drive new traffic into your store for the first time (service and in-store experience keeps them coming back)
  2. The value of the card-linked offer itself incentivizes those customers to repeatedly choose you until it simply becomes a habit for the consumer

Leverage the Database for Better Customer Connections

The Empyr platform and its select partners allow brands to segment their database of customers based on key elements like purchase history and interactions. This includes existing, new-to-file, and lapsed customers. This segmentation feature can help identify trends within each audience based on their behavior or purchase history, and deliver targeted messaging that aligns with their customer journey. We can conveniently break out data from separate audiences to compare, contrast, and determine which audiences are contributing most to in-store revenue.

Since credit card information is provided online to “activate” the cashback offer, we are able to leverage transaction data to track the customer journey from online to offline, assess which offers are working most effectively, and determine how much revenue was generated from each customer from that first transaction through the duration of their relationship with the brand. 


It is extremely important to understand your customer base and their relationship with you. This helps inform your customer acquisition, retention, and re-engagement strategies and ensure the sustainability and growth of your brand. Working off of real data with real engagement tools puts you at a competitive advantage and sets you up for success. Empyr can provide these insights and more, ensuring your money spent is going directly toward serving your customers appropriately, building your customer base, and growing your business.

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*applicable brands only

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