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Smart City marketing with a city gift card
Unigifts publishes innovative 'city gift cards'. A city gift card is a gift idea focused on experiencing the city. One gift card valid at multiple local merchants within one city. What's unique about the gift card is that it is valid across categories and that it can be used partially at each of the participating merchants. This enables you for example to first use your gift card to drink a coffee, then go shopping at a fashion boutique and end the day with dinner at one of the participating restaurants.
Core to these 'smart' gift cards is our custom developed technology which automates the entire process from initial sale to the customer, to payout to the merchant when it is used in their store. For this we use a.o. two smartphone apps.
Merchants have a user-friendly app that assures both security and communication of gift card usage. This happens real-time so that with partial use, the gift card's value gets updated instantly. The user - recipient - of a gift card also has an app, with a.o. geo features (participating merchants nearby). All this makes the concept of our city gift cards user friendly, straightforward to organise and extremely scalable.
Local merchants grouped together in one product
Local merchants feel increasing competitive pressure from web stores and large retailers. So acquiring new paying customers is increasingly difficult - and important - for them. On the other hand, everybody occasionally looks for an original gift idea.
A city gift card provides an answer to both of these problems. A great way to gift somebody a piece of 'city experience' all while supporting the local economy.
Currently we have gift cards for the 3 largest cities of Flanders: Ghent, Antwerp and Bruges. This entails a contract with over 350 local merchants who accept our gift card as valid payment method. Besides the merchants, the city's local government is another party with whom a good relationship matters. In Antwerp the city supports our initiative - and thus their local economy - by buying our gift card and using it when they need to give presents / rewards. In Bruges we are actively talking to the city government to see how they can support us, and in Gent the major (Daniel Termont) created a video clip for us, promoting our Gent gift card.
Analysing the various ways throughout which sales are generated results in 3 major channels:
Initial research yields the keywords we bid on. Those keywords that turn out to have a positive ROI are maintained and get maximum funding.
• (Repeat) purchase:
Each sale of a gift card by itself increases future sales in 2 ways:
- First and foremost, part of the people who buy a gift card later buy another one.
- Additionally, each purchased and gifted card shows and promotes the concept to at least one other person: the gift card's recipient.
Before a product can be bought at the very least it has to be known. Specifically, we run campaigns centered around special occasions, e.g. Mother's Day, the end of year holidays...
A city gift card can be purchased both online and offline. Online we delivery both virtual (printable) vouchers by e-mail, or physical vouchers by snail mail.
For shipping we use an external party, and the customer pays €3. Additionally, several of the participating merchants also serve as resellers where the gift card can be bought physically in the store.