eGift Cards Are Now an Option for SMBs

April 25, 2016 Peter Krasilovsky

Coupons, pre-paid deals and card-linked offers have each made in-roads into the SMB marketing ecosystem. But what about gift cards?

The leading gift card companies work with hundreds of national brands, from Amazon to Starbucks.  Some stores feature 200 gift card slots at once, giving the brands great exposure and incremental sales.  The national brands also have electronic options, such as Gyft.

Local merchants don’t really have the same capabilities.  When it comes to promotions, most are limited to selling discount vouchers, like a Groupon, or gift certificates, which are like checks.

Digitalization, however , may open new doors for SMB gift cards. One solution for SMBs  is provided by Yiftee, a three year old startup. Yiftee provides online promotion and gift card capability to both national and local businesses – the former acting as a traffic draw for consumers, and a validation point.

The company currently supports 55,000 locations.  Of those, 5,000 are  local brands such as SMBs. The gift cards are more  typically used as marketing incentives or  “Thank You” presents from real estate agents and other local SMBs.

Independent stores pay $30 a month to belong to the network and a right to publish unlimited cards. No setup fees or technology integration or training is required.   

One advantage of the card is it provides a set of analytics on how it is used.   Since users need to register in order to download the card to their smart phone,  the card will provide a complete set of data on how it is used.  For instance, if businesses  include a TXT link to their ads to “win” a card, they can  complement TV, cable TV, radio and print campaigns and see what is really working. 

About the Author

Peter Krasilovsky runs Local Onliner, a consulting firm that focuses on how digital channels target local consumers. “Local” has been a focus for him since 1995-96, and the firm's practice now includes search, marketplaces, geotargeting, vertical media and loyalty and promotion services. Peter was Chief Analyst and Vice President for BIA/Kelsey from 2006-2015. He holds an MA from The Annenberg School of Communications at The University of Southern California and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. He currently resides with his wife Sharon in Ashland, Oregon.

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