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Outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops distributes mobile gift cards via Facebook

Outdoor Retailer Bass Pro Shops is letting consumers pay for virtual gift cards via Facebook and deliver them directly to mobile phones.

Bass Pro Shops tapped virtual and mobile gift cards provider Transaction Wireless’s new gift card platform for social gifting. TW’s gift card store for Facebook lets friends, especially ones who routinely count on Facebook’s birthday reminders, to create customizable messages with instant delivery to a mobile device or a time-select option to arrive during a party, event or other special occasion.

“Our overall goal is to allow fulfillment of our gift cards in any way our customers want or need it,” said Katie Mitchell, spokeswoman for Bass Pro Shops, Springfield, MO. “We foresee this as being the future for gift giving and want to take care of our customers’ needs before they realize they even need it.

“As more and more people embrace Facebook and other social networking sites, we want to take advantage of that outlet to allow our customers to experience Bass Pro Shops in a new way,” she said. “In addition, conservation is very important to us here at Bass Pro Shops, on a business [level] as well as a personal level.

“We are conserving our land and heritage for future generations—this is a great way to share this value with the next generation knowing that they do or will feel the same way.”

Bass Pro Shops is a retailer of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor recreation merchandise.

Transaction Wireless is a mobile commerce, payments and one-to-one relationship marketing company enabling a link between consumers, retailers and brands via any PC or mobile device.

Facebook to mobile
Bass Pro Shops is the first retailer to leverage TW’s Facebook application platform. This is the company’s first significant move into mobile gift card purchasing and redemption.

TW started working with Bass Pro’s mobile program in 2009.

When retailers sign up for TW’s turnkey program, a gift card tab is added to the corporate Facebook fan page or corporate Web site, letting consumers send virtual gift cards via email or text message, as well as traditional plastic, redeemable both online and in-store.

TW’s proprietary technology allows for fully customizable virtual/mobile cards with audio, video, text and pictures.

With the Facebook application, the gifting experience is fully integrated into wall posts, news feeds, photo albums and friend lists, giving various customization options.

Retailers such as Bass Pro Shops are able to customize and brand their storefront with unlimited card art and images, create tailored marketing campaigns with each gift purchased and reward their valued customers on Facebook fan pages.

Gift recipients do not have to be on Facebook to receive the card. Delivery is made to mobile, email and via Facebook simultaneously, catching the birthday boy or girl, bride, recent grad, friend or family member wherever they happen to be.

In addition to mobile delivery, consumers can provide their email address for printing options.

“With each card purchased, Bass Pro Shops leverages the marketing campaign tools in the wGiftCard Platform to create targeted promotions, messaging and loyalty for each customer,” said Bruce Springer, president/CEO, Transaction Wireless, San Diego. “The customer can opt-in to future promotions and loyalty programs.

“When a customer interacts with the virtual/mobile gift card, Bass Pro Shops has an opportunity to deliver additional marketing programs while providing service to the customer,” he said.
Gifting on Facebook platform increases the fun factor of social media and also helps ensure important birthdays and anniversaries are never forgotten, according to Transaction Wireless.

With the TW Facebook store offering, the delivery is instant, customizable with voice, video or text messages and, if they choose, consumers can announce to the rest of their friends on Facebook what they have just sent or received.

Retailers can benefit from being able to offer their gift cards on their Facebook pages with minimal ramp-up time or dedicated resources and can tailor messages to leverage the viral marketing aspects of social gifting and Facebook’s more than 400 million active users.

Millions of Facebook users return to the site each day, providing distribution potential for applications and the opportunity to build a business that can spread via word of mouth.

The willingness to add virtual and mobile card offerings for their customers is growing quickly, according to TW.

More than 1.5 million businesses have an active presence on Facebook and this is a way to monetize those relationships.

By using the virtual or mobile solution, retailers can eliminate production, postage and packaging of plastic cards, according to TW.

“Our proprietary technology solution allows Bass Pro and other retailers to take advantage of the 400 million active users on Facebook for social gifting and improve the interactive gifting experience with personalized messages—audio and text,” Mr. Springer said. “Most retailers understand the value of mobile and online gift cards and they see the great opportunity social networking sites like Facebook provide, the challenge has been dedicating resources to incorporating new technology. 

“Our solution takes that ramp-up time, dedicated resource team and cost out of the equation,” he said. “Our technology is essentially plug and play, making it exponentially easier to provide gift cards through Facebook or on their own sites than ever before.”
Mobile is a key channel in retailers’ multichannel distribution strategy.

“Mobile is the technology of the future,” Mr. Springer said. “We’ll continue to sell and support virtual/email solutions for retailers, and assist with the management of plastic card programs, but we continue to see smartphones and other devices taking the place of much of the day-to-day use of PCs.

“It’s a perfect match with gift cards since one of the biggest consumer complaints is forgetting their cards when they need them most,” he said.

“With 91 percent of Americans currently carrying mobile devices with them for most of the day, it’s a much more personal, customized, integrated experience a retailer can have with their consumer now.”