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Technology is rapidly evolving and customer experience has never been more important. How can shopping centres stay ahead of the curve in today’s changing landscape? This article forms part of a special feature, first published in SCN’s Little Guns edition.

Gift cards can help form part of the foundation of your customer engagement strategy. Whether you’re trying to increase foot traffic, increase basket sizes or bring in revenue during slow times of the year, gift cards offer the solution. They are a powerful brand communications tool and help create strong trial and brand awareness and advocacy – all rolled into one program. They help drive revenue as over 70% of shoppers spend more than the gift card value when purchasing with one. On average, they overspend the card value by a whopping 40% and 31% use them to buy additional or more expensive items. Plus, according to our research, gift cards as incentives outperform discounts, coupons and special offers.

Although various businesses desire a card with their own brand on it (a standalone solution) in major retailers, there are many issues that make this harder than it seems. Firstly, many retailer stands and aisles are full, so getting shelf space can be very difficult. Secondly, finding a partner to print cards involves long lead times, technical integration and accurate stock forecasting. This process can take many months to complete. Finally, a standalone card may not be able to satisfy purchase volume requirements to land on or stay on the peg.

Partnering with Blackhawk Network solves these problems. We help determine if a standalone card is appropriate or whether being included on an aggregated card with a number of brands is a more sensible approach.

These multi-brand gift cards are experiencing strong growth at the moment and can be a great way to get your brand in the hands of customers.

Further, Blackhawk provides access to its physical distribution network enabling brands to be seen in major retailers such as Woolworths, Coles and Australia Post, for example.

With Blackhawk’s aggregate cards, our Ultimate Gift Card range, brands can be part of a multi-brand gift card targeting your consumer segment. Further, using this approach, we can present your brand through our B2B channel into key partners in many industries, ranging from telecommunications, banking and finance, superannuation, insurance, FMCG, home appliances, motoring, utilities and member benefits.

Additionally, by joining our original content program, brands can explore and integrate with our Incentives Solutions, which provide touchpoints outside traditional retail channels. This is through scalable and secure cloud-based software as a service platform, which can help reach your business goals in acquiring new customers and retaining or rewarding staff and/or customers.

Our brands partnerships
Four years ago, Blackhawk Network launched the Ultimate Card range into the multi-brand gift card category – the first of its kind in Australia – across our major retail distribution channels, including Woolworths, Australia Post, ALDI and Kmart. This provided our partner brands incremental opportunities in the fast-growing e-Commerce, digital and B2B incentives markets and customers with a convenient and aspirational gift. Plus, it gives freedom of choice to recipients. So, win-win-win. It’s been a hugely successful range, which continues to grow stronger every year.

Emerging payment solutions
One thing we’re very excited about is that very soon, Australians will be able to redeem and use our Ultimate Gift Card range at our retailer partners, add them to their mobile wallets and purchase them either in-store or online through the Ultimate Gift Card Website.

When it comes to our emerging payment solutions – leveraged by leading industry brands in the world such as Lululemon and Sephora – brands can take advantage of our digital gifting platform, an e-Commerce gift card solution that delivers a branded e-Commerce, mobile optimised platform that drives meaningful consumer experiences.

Our partners can feel secure with this solution too, as it’s supported by our industry-leading fraud tools that have up to a 98% approval rate (up to 40% higher than our competitors). Plus, its capabilities ensure safety and security for all transactions while providing unmatched approval and acceptance rates that convert more sales. It also can drive up to 40% of additional revenue with extensive promotional capabilities, like ‘give one, get one’ offers and other consumer-focused promotions. This can be enabled for new customers in as little as two weeks thanks to our streamlined onboarding process, so looking to the future, there’s a lot we’re excited about.

We will continue to be a branded payments distribution leader – with more than 7,500 doors in grocery, office and big-box retailers nationwide across Australia – and we are expanding every day.

Our focus is on cultivating deep industry relationships and providing leading-edge payment solutions through our broad distribution network.


About the author

George Lawson

George Lawson, Managing Director Commerce Australia, Blackhawk Network

Blackhawk Network is a branded payments business that delivers payment solutions through prepaid products, technologies and networks that connect brands with people. Its focus is to drive innovation in the prepaid space through collaboration with clients to increase reach, loyalty, customer acquisition and revenue for its partners. Blackhawk Network offers gift cards solutions across retail and B2B channels. Its programs use proven best practices in supply chain, merchandising, marketing, partner management and end-to-end support.

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