Promotions for Black Friday deals started two months before the day after Thanksgiving, AdGooroo finds.
InComm handled $28 billion in gift card transaction volume last year. Now, with a new custom web site offering, it’s out to help brands sell more gift cards in bulk sales to corporate customers for employee incentive and customer loyalty programs.
When it comes to selling gift cards, a lot of consumer brands still rely on old methods to receive and confirm bulk orders of digital or plastic gift cards, says Michael Fletcher, general manager of InComm Digital Solutions. “In many cases, brands are still taking faxes and phone calls to take orders,” he says.
InComm is out to change that with a new white-label web site service, the Corporate B2B Store, which is designed to let brands and retailers accept and fulfill any size order of gift cards for corporate clients, he says.
InComm already offers two other gift card selling platforms to consumer brands and retailers: It provides web technology and fulfillment services that let its clients sell cards to consumers through their existing e-commerce sites; and for corporate clients that frequently buy cards in bulk for ongoing promotional campaigns or employee incentive programs, it offers a service through which these clients connect their web sites with InComm’s gift card fulfillment service through an API, or application programming interface. An API is a set of software instructions for automatically exchanging data between technology systems.
As InComm receives orders in its warehouse for plastic gift cards, it ships them out with instructions to the companies ordering them to call in the range of card identification numbers tied to each batch. InComm then activates those cards, which can then be redeemed for value in physical stores or on e-commerce sites. InComm handled $28 billion in gift card volume last year, up 40% from 2012, Fletcher says. The privately held company doesn’t report revenue figures.
But while InComm has been offering gift card services for some 20 years, one area of service it has not offered until now, Fletcher says, was a white-label online B2B store where companies can process under their own brand bulk orders of gift cards outside of an API connection. The Corporate B2B Store platform, which InComm hosts for clients under a software-as-a-service model, is designed especially to let brands handle occasional or one-time bulk orders of their gift cards from companies planning a special employee incentive program or marketing campaign. “For example, this would be used by the Human Resources manager who wants to buy gift cards for employees,” Fletcher says. “For a lot of smaller B2B gift card needs, companies don’t need to connect through an API.”
Fletcher adds that the Corporate B2B Store platform is designed to handle any size order, including orders of 100,000 or more cards.
In addition to a monthly SaaS subscription fee, InComm also charges fees for initial set-up and fulfillment services. Fees are based on the number of cards InComm handles, though Fletcher declines to specify the fees for publication. He also declines to name companies that have been beta testing the Corporate B2B Store.
InComm retailer clients include Wal-Mart Stores Inc., No. 4 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 and CVS Caremark Corp., No. 95.