Food and gift basket sales increased 4.7%, but total e-commerce, which includes online and telephone orders, increased less than 1%.
In an industry first, MasterCard International and New York-based beenz.com, an online loyalty rewards provider, are launching reloadable debit cards that will allow enrolled consumers to convert the so-called beenz credits they earn into dollars, put them on the card and use the money in the virtual or real world.
For customers choosing to convert their beenz, up until now good only with participating online traders, 1,000 beenz will equal $5. Upon consumer request, Columbus, Ga.-based Columbus Bank & Trust will issue the beenz rewardz debit cards, developed with FlexiGift Inc., beginning this May in the U.S. and Canada.
The cards will be available in the U.K. later in the second quarter and in Australia later this year. Philip Letts, beenz. com chairman and CEO, says the company is considering offering customers a credit card as well. Any beenz user will be able to get the debit card as long as the person has a minimum balance of 1,000 beenz.