Across the pond

Mobile gifting in the age of the app

Michael Fletcher, SVP Sales and Marketing, Giftango Corporation, on how to create a mobile strategy that works for you.

I was thinking back to how we did things before the advent of the mobile phone. How do you find a great new restaurant? How do you find directions? How do you take photos and share them with your friends? If you’re like a growing segment of the population, you answered by saying, “with my mobile”. As a result, many notable brands have mobile strategies.

Likewise, how have gift cards changed? We’ve seen an explosion of plastic gift cards being purchased in retail outlets. We’ve seen gift cards used as promotional devices, tied to loyalty programmes, used as incentives and rewards. Digital gift cards arrived and added convenience. Mobile gifting opens up many new possibilities.

Apps, apps all around
There is an increasing number of applications being made available to consumers. Functionality ranges wildly but some prevalent options include : store locators, shopping, loyalty features, reservations, special offers, inventory checks, order status and access to additional product details and ratings. The most successful mobile gift card programmes sit alongside these features as opposed to standing alone as an independent application. Mobile gift cards can be delivered to and stored in a mobile application.

And… action!
One of the greatest opportunities mobile gifting presents is the ability to engage customers and influence behavior before they set foot in store. When a customer uses a mobile app, the retailer often gains access to rich data including, but not limited to, the location they are likely to visit, and the product they want to purchase. Detailed customer data is also available when an application allows a user to register, such as when they last visited and what they last purchased.

When this data is leveraged correctly, an application can be used to provide a relevant, real-time offer to the customer. Here are a few examples:

  • Buy it now: Allow the customer to purchase the product they are researching from the application. Reward them with additional loyalty points, a discount or a gift with purchase. A mobile gift card has great utility as a payment mechanism or as a promotional tool in these scenarios and can be directly delivered and stored in the application.
  • Visit now and save: Encourage action by extending a promotional card good for a limited time. This can be as simple as save $3 when you visit between now and 6pm. A mobile card is instant and can be limited through expiration dates and one-time use.
  • Push notifications: Proactively extend an offer to customers. These offers can be sent based on time, GPS location, or other sets of rational. A mobile gift card is easy to understand and easy to redeem at the point of sale. Customer adoption is high.


Mobile gift cards can be used for gifting as well. Key points here include :

  • Options: Allow the gift to be received and redeemed in a variety of ways. Send to email, SMS, or social media and allow the card to be printed, not just used from a phone.
  • Payment: Be aware of payment fraud and take precautions. The quicker a gift card can be delivered and redeemed the more prevalent certain types of payment fraud become. These risks can be mitigated and even eliminated with products and services available in the market.

Mobile gifts add value to most mobile strategies and can be brought into existing apps to help customers to engage with a brand in new ways.

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