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Trend Watch: National Retailers Convene at World's First Digital Gifting Event

GiftCard Partners' Deb Merkin attended the CashStar Digital Gifting roundtable and said it was jammed packed with great market research and the roundtable discussion was invaluable. CashStar’s Retailer Roundtable brings together leading analysts, technologists, thought leaders and a myriad of retailers to discuss the future of digital gifting.
CVS/pharmacy and
Brinker, 2 of our clients will be present and taking part in this roundtable! Digital gifting has altered the way the B2B gift card market progresses, with efficiencies for the retailer, buyer and the end consumer, while directly tying in with mobile and
social media initiatives… We look forward to seeing the results of this meeting in the coming weeks. PORTLAND, Maine, Jul 14, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- CashStar, the digital gifting and incentives company, today announced that it has brought together the industry's top influencers and retailers for the world's first event exclusively focused on the e-gifting industry. Taking place today in CashStar's headquarter city of Portland, Maine, the CashStar Retailer Roundtable has brought thought leaders together to brainstorm the future of digital gifting with a focus on mobile and social channels.
Click to read more about this landmark digital gifting event.

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CVS Extra Bucks Loyalty Program Exceeds the Competition

In a recent consumer study comparing pharmacy loyalty programs, the CVS/Pharmacy Extra Bucks program exceeded the competition at Walgreens and Rite Aid.  Because Extra Bucks can be accrued on some prescription purchases, and on 2% of purchases which is an impressive amount, that is noticed by consumers, and their wallets.  This study proves how CVS/Pharmacy builds their programs around their customers and their needs.
For more information and to view the entire pharmacy loyalty program comparison, click here.

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Prepaid Expo: Social Media Critical to Growth of Prepaid

You are likely either a marketer or involved with the prepaid & gift card industry OR BOTH (like me). We love this video and we love how the Prepaid Expo is looking beyond traditional information sources and prepaid to bring us their take on the next generation of prepaid. Social Media Critical to Growth of Prepaid via
Prepaid Expo: Social Media Critical to Growth of Prepaid.
"In an age where 93% of all business marketing participates in social media and even brokers at financial firms are now harnessing the power and reach of social media for research, client communication, and to attract potential clients and prospects, it seems that social media is critical to the growth of Prepaid as well. While compliance guidelines and regulations continue to worry many in the Prepaid industry, they are not alone. If you speak to any social media thought leader, they will tell you that many corporations face challenges in using social media, both externally and internally. However, it is possible to walk that fine line since social media isn't going away. And when you look at its merit and power to reach and educate clients and consumers far and wide, especially the underbanked, the more it seems like a winning situation."
Just look at these 2011 social media stats released last week    

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Potential Pitfalls of the Daily-Deal

Daily deal sites are increasingly popular with consumers across the country, however they are posing increasing problems with the retailers who offer these "too good to be true" deals.  Be careful how your company interacts with daily deal sites so they attract more customers, and don't cost your business too much potential revenue.  For example, if you give gift cards away at a discount is that too much free money? Here are some tips to success in the daily deal arena:

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"Digital Age" gift card predictions

Cutting edge technology is top of mind for companies who provide gift cards in their programs. Here are a few predictions from CashStar and GCP for how the Digital Age will affect gifting: 1. Instant Communication: The email channel will grow and become a primary means of sending and distributing gift cards. Speed, convenience and cost will drive the transition from plastic to digital. Technologies like QR Codes will merge offline marketing and advertising to accommodate retailers’ need to bridge online and offline and consumers’ need for instant gratification. 2. Social Gifting: We have all heard the buzz about “Facebook Commerce.” As consumers become more comfortable socializing and communicating through social networks, this channel will continue to grow in importance for retailers: first as an engagement tool, primarily, and then as a commerce channel. Retailers who have active, engaged Facebook fans will witness the most growth for their digital gift cards. Smart retailers will also utilize the social channel as a means of acquiring customers and deepening relationships. “Social gifts” and incentives are valuable tools in this milieu. 3. Mobile Gifting: Mobile is an emerging channel that will develop as smartphone penetration (and supplementary technologies like mobile wallets) increases and retailers begin the process of enabling point-of-sale redemption. Retailers will want to make sure their customers’ mobile purchases – and the recipients’ experiences, especially – are as friction free and convenient as possible. So retailers: build or partner wisely. 4. A richer gifting experience: In the digital world the customer experience becomes king. Simply offering a “plastic-like” alternative or a message with a “code” will not impress the savvy, discerning digital consumer. They will want digital personalization options and a friendlier, easier user experience. This is only the tip of the technology iceberg, follow our blog to stay on top. Do you have your own digital age predictions? Post them if you've got them. Source: David Douglas Stone is co-founder and CEO of CashStar, digital gifting and incentives company.

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