Riding on the wave of acceptance local consumers have given to group discount offers, online marketing company Gustazos has joined forces with payment processing company Evertec to launch “Giftmall,” a new service that offers online gift certificates redeemable at dozens of local businesses.
So far, about 80 local businesses have added themselves to the growing list of options of goods and services — ranging from spas to jewelry to audio equipment — from which consumers can choose to buy gift certificates in different denominations set by the retailer.
The 24-hour service is especially relevant because people will be able to send personalized gift certificates from local businesses to family and friends in Puerto Rico, from anywhere in the world, said Manuel Morales, senior vice president of Technology Labs, an innovation unit of Evertec, during a news conference Thursday.
“It’s a new way to continue strengthening commerce and Puerto Rico’s economy,” he said.
Gift certificates have gained increased popularity due to their ease of use. In a recent report, Bloomberg cited a survey saying that the majority of consumers who redeem gift certificates wind up spending about 50 percent more at the establishment than the value of the voucher.
In Giftmall’s case, consumers will be able to buy and customize certificates online and email them to the recipient, who can then print and redeem them. One major difference between Giftmall’s offer and traditional plastic gift cards is that the former do not expire and, if lost, can be voided and replaced, said Gustavo Villares, partner at Gustazos.com.
“Giftmall complements the offers available on Gustazos.com, because now the customer not only has access to discounts to the best businesses in Puerto Rico, but with Giftmall we now provide the most complete online gift catalog,” he said, noting that the new service and retailers joining it will be exposed to Gustazos.com’s 260,000 subscribers including 250,000 on its Facebook page, 125,000 registered users and up to the 1 million monthly website visitors.
“At Evertec, we are excited about this new service that, without a doubt, is an excellent tool for local businesses to increase their sales. Now they can rely on Evertec’s proven technology and Gustazos.com’s aggressive online platform, which maximizes the marketing of their products and services,” said Morales.
To enroll in Giftmall, retailers are required to pay a $300 activation fee, a $10 monthly fee and a percentage of the final gift card sale. But in exchange, businesses will not be required to keep an inventory or manage gift cards, or deal with the costs of replenishing or purchasing additional equipment (hardware or software).
Furthermore, the retailer will see their payment within 24 hours after the certificate is redeemed, Morales said.
“Giftmall will automatically generate payment to the merchant who will receive the deposit in their bank account within two working days,” said Morales. “Once the merchant is activated in Giftmall, they will only pay when they sell. The business may be online with gift certificates within a week after signing the contract.”
The Giftmall concept was six months in the making, and rather than requiring a significant financial investment, the two executives agreed it took more like “2,500 man-hours” to design and launch.
“We identified a niche. Basically it was about wanting to have the convenience of being able to buy a gift online for someone at 10 p.m., and having no time to go shopping,” said Villares. “That was my situation, six months ago.”