2013 Paybefore Awards Europe: Best Gift Card or Voucher Program (June 2013)
Best use of a consumer-funded gift card/voucher or line of gift cards/vouchers.
Best in Category: £5 for a £10 Starbucks Card eGift LivingSocial Deal
Delivered nearly 65,000 Starbucks Card eGifts from Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 2012, powered by CashStar’s eGifting platform and LivingSocial’s local marketing engine.
CashStar, LivingSocial and coffee giant Starbucks teamed up in late November 2012 to issue 64,565 eGift cards in just 48 hours. CashStar is the Portland, Maine-based eGift platform provider and LivingSocial is a local marketing engine.
Leveraging the Starbucks Card eGift program, which launched earlier that month in the U.K. on the CashStar eGifting platform, the LivingSocial deal, £5 for a £10 Starbucks Card eGift, enabled Starbucks to acquire and engage customers during challenging economic times to help meet its sales goals, while introducing a huge number of consumers to eGift cards and driving adoption in record numbers.
To make the deal even sweeter, consumers who purchased the eGift offer were motivated to share the deal with friends through a “Me+3=FREE” tool to create the ultimate opportunity—getting their £10 Starbucks Card eGift for free, courtesy of LivingSocial. All it took was three friends to also purchase the deal.
The program incorporated several channels to get the word out to Starbucks and LivingSocial users, including email, Facebook, Twitter, mobile apps and print ads. One of the largest promotions of its kind, the innovative combination of marketing strategies made this one of the most visible prepaid marketing initiatives of the year.
Consumers who took advantage of the limited-time offer received their Starbucks Card eGifts promptly after purchase and were able to redeem through a barcode on their mobile apps that can be scanned at the POS or using a printed eGift. This seamless process enabled Starbucks customers to pay for their beverages faster than they could say, “Venti iced cinnamon dolce latte.”
The goal of the deal was to use the element of surprise along with restricted availability to familiarize consumers with the simplicity and convenience of the Starbucks Card eGift option.
Not only did consumers get a good deal, the eGift had convenience features built in, too. Purchasers could transfer the value of the eGift to their registered Starbucks Cards through a mobile app. The promotion also served as an effective customer-acquisition tactic.
According to CashStar, the success of the LivingSocial deal demonstrates new uses, new markets and new opportunities for virtual gifting. The same deal in the U.S. also drew significant consumer uptake and garnered a Best-in-Category Paybefore Award for Best Virtual or Digital Program.
Winner: Asda Closed Loop Gift Card
- First Data
When is a gift card more than a gift card? When it also serves as a keepsake: Christmas saving account, layaway program, student card and learning tool for children, among other functions. Asda Stores Ltd., a U.K.-based supermarket chain, created the reloadable closed-loop gift card program nine years ago with Atlanta-based payments processor First Data, and it has been driving store traffic and saving customers money ever since.
Asda, a Walmart subsidiary that serves more than 18 million customers per week at its 565 stores located throughout the U.K., and First Data have developed innovative ways to advance the standard closed-loop gift card program beyond gift-giving. With the Christmas Savings Card, for example, customers who load up to £144 (US$218.20) on their cards by a specific date in November receive a special bonus of up to £6 (US$9.09) during the Christmas season.
Asda’s Save Away Club layaway program enables members to reserve merchandise by incrementally loading funds onto a gift card toward paying off the purchase. The Asda student card program is for students away at school. Cards for the student and parents are linked to one account, so parents can add money and students can make purchases at any Asda store. Yet another program, Asda’s Pocket Money Card teaches children about saving and financial discipline. Parents register their children for the card, which is linked to an interactive online game that encourages saving.
What’s more, the retailer continually creates wildly popular designs for its gift cards to commemorate national events, such as the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee—the cards are collector items that can fetch a tidy sum on eBay.
- Flex-e-vouchers Limited
When Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City shopping centers in the U.K. teamed up with program manager Flex-e-vouchers Limited, issuer IDT Financial Services Ltd. and processor Global Processing Services, they created a card that provides convenience, choice and great customer service for consumers along with an attractive business proposition for all stakeholders.
Westfield Gift Card is a MasterCard-branded restricted authorization network (RAN) card that is sure to be an appreciated gift as recipients can use the card to buy products and services at any of the 736 stores in Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City, such as retail stores, movie theaters and restaurants.
Not only does the Westfield Gift Card, which can be loaded with £5 ($7.52) to £1,000 ($1,503.86), provide cardholders with the flexibility to shop at hundreds of merchants; the card has myriad customer support features provided by Flex-e-vouchers, including a call center during the shopping centers’ business hours and a 24/7 IVR service. Cardholders can check balances online, at all Westfield retailers and through SMS. The card purchaser and recipient also have the option to register their gift cards to help protect against loss or theft, and even if they don’t register their cards, the customer relations team can attempt to trace lost cards using the Flex-e-card CRM and transaction management system. As a result of these services, there were zero cases in which lost cards could not be identified in 2012, according to the company.
Consumers can buy Westfield Gift Cards on the Westfield and Flex-e-card Websites, or at automated kiosks or concierge desks at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City. And, Flex-e-vouchers developed a Web portal enabling corporate customers to buy cards and load them in amounts that suit their needs. Combining consumer choice and top-notch service along with a restricted authorization network, the Westfield Gift Card guarantees business for the Westfield shopping centers and their merchant tenants.