Fanatics and financial services firm Synchrony have partnered on a Fanatics-branded credit card, which the companies plan to make available in the summer of 2019, according to a Synchrony press release that was emailed to Retail Dive.
The new card will be linked with the existing Fanatics FanCash loyalty program, which offers members real currency and other benefits on their Fanatics merchandise purchases. Cardholders also will receive special offers for unique sports experiences, the companies said.
The announcement comes less than a month after Qurate Retail Group and Synchrony announced an agreement to have Synchrony take over the branded credit card business for its HSN multi-channel retail property.
As many retailers have moved to offer their own branded credit cards, it comes as no surprise that Fanatics wants to get in on the act. While brick-and-mortar retailers have been moving in this direction for years (Ikea was one of the more recent converts), e-commerce giants like Amazon also have come to see the upside of providing customers with a card that strengthens brand value and links to their established loyalty programs, further promoting those programs to customers who may not have previously joined.
But the details matter, considering that half of consumers who sign up for store cards wish they hadn't, citing steep interest and not enough perks. The companies said that they "will leverage their deep technology and analytics platforms to deliver hyper-personalized shopping experiences and enhanced loyalty for fans," according to the release.
As a retailer, Fanatics has become a success story in recent years, generating more than $2 billion in revenue annually by leveraging partnerships with pro sports leagues, and relationships with many athletic apparel brands —going as far as acquiring Majestic in 2017. At NRF this week, the company also said it would start selling on e-commerce marketplaces, according to an Internet Retailer story, a move that will further expand its reach.
It's also probably incorrect to describe Fanatics as purely an e-commerce company, since it does have an agreement to have physical shop locations inside J.C. Penney stores and has branched into manufacturing what it sells.
This deal also shows that Synchrony is getting its groove back after losing Walmart's credit card business last year and later getting sued by the retail giant. More recently, J.C. Penney renewed a long-term agreement with Synchrony, as did Lowe's. Hitching itself to a rising star will further help.