July 8, 2010, 12:41 PM

Ice cream retailer goes social with e-gift cards

Cold Stone Creamery is deploying eGift Social from First Data Corp.

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Cold Stone Creamery, a chain of more than 1,300 ice cream parlors, this week became the first merchant to deploy eGift Social, a Facebook e-gift card application from payment processor First Data Corp.

“We’re making it easier for people to share a Cold Stone moment, even if time or distance prevents them from being together,” says Daniel Beem, the retailer’s president. “We’re delighted to know we’ll be part of more of life’s little moments, from ‘get well soon’ notes and rewards for a job well done to ‘I miss you’ wall posts on Facebook.”

First Data is providing the new eGift Social app as an add-on to its gift card program without charging any additional transaction, set-up or maintenance fees, a spokeswoman says. The provider of payment processing technology and services also provides most of the technology integration to connect the app to a merchant’s web site.

Cold Stone used an online tool kit provided by First Data to upload product images and information to customize an eGift Social template page on ColdStoneCreamery.com. Visitors to the retailer’s Facebook page and its e-commerce site click into the gift card section and choose the e-gift option, which takes them to the eGift Social page where they can choose a product to go with an e-gift. Consumers can send it to one or more their friends listed on Facebook. Consumers can also enter a friend’s e-mail address to send an e-gift outside of Facebook.

A recipient of a Cold Stone e-gift shows its code number to a participating Cold Stone retailer to redeem the gift.

Cold Stone shoppers also can access the eGift Social page through a web-connected mobile device. “Thanks to social networking sites, texting and the growing abundance of web-enabled mobile devices, the way people interact and receive gifts is changing,” says Dom Morea, First Data’s division manager of mobile commerce solutions.

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