2015 Paybefore Awards: Best Choice Retail Card
The retail card that is a best choice for consumers/clients, while making significant contributions to increasing sales and/or loyalty, or expanding the use of prepaid to new customer segments.
Best in Category: Walmart Closed Loop Gift Card
Walmart’s 17-year-old gift card program is deeply woven into the fabric of its broader enterprise, addressing a wide range of customer needs on a global basis.
Partners: First Data, processor; Walmart, retailer
- Sample innovations: (a) “rain check card” for out-of-stock items to reserve product at sale price; (b) “reservation card” to pre-order hottest video games; (c) “health care card” for specified products and rewards to members of partnering health care providers; (d) “Gadgets to Gift Cards” for electronics exchange; (e) “Saving’s Catcher e-card” automates price-matching guarantee refunds.
- Sample spending/budgeting programs: (a) “teacher discount card” gives 10 percent back to teachers for school supplies; (b) “military meals card” defrays cost of holiday meals for military families; (c) “gas discount card” to take advantage of gas discount.
Bottom Line: Gift cards are an integral part of Walmart’s strategy to drive sales. Specialty programs deliver the advantage of managing budgets and offers with redemption capability at the customers’ convenience without fear of fees or expiration.
Winner: BYOD Program
The Bring Your Own Device program makes SIM cards available through gift card malls, enabling customers to switch carriers and activate no-contract, prepaid wireless airtime on their existing mobile phones.
- Brings a new product to market using existing distributor footprint and infrastructure.
- Delivers new wireless growth and higher margins, while simplifying merchandising space allocation.
- Packaging the SIM card with airtime ensures a distributor gets the airtime sale and encourages repeat business.
- Makes wireless shopping more convenient for consumers and helps them find less expensive plans without buying new phones.
- Activates at the POS and includes a PIN, eliminating a physical airtime card.
Bottom Line: Program offers consumers wireless freedom, flexibility and saving without giving up their existing mobile phones. For distributors and carriers, it eliminates out-of-stock issues and reduces shrinkage. Drives foot traffic and new sales.
Winner: Tanger Gift Card
Tanger Outlet Centers
Sunrise Banks N.A.
A gift card solution redeemable exclusively at Tanger Outlet’s collection of 400 unaffiliated, brand-name retailers with locations in the U.S. and Canada.
- Card is country-specific but can be used cross-border—a card purchased in Canada can be redeemed at U.S. properties and vice versa.
- All card-related purchase and dormancy fees were discontinued in 2014.
- RAN functionality assures redemption at Tanger Outlet Center merchants only, with benefits of delivering more store sales and capturing back-end spending data.
- 2,000 participating merchant locations with easy API integration that enables new merchants to be added quickly.
Bottom Line: Tanger Outlets has a strong brand and touts an endless pursuit of improving the consumer experience by adding new services, such as digital cards, eliminating fees and expanding design options.