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Auntie Anne’s brings mobile gift cards to consumers, promoting shareability

Auntie Anne’s is angling for higher sales via a collaboration with digital gifting service Yiftee, enabling consumers to purchase mobile gift cards and send them to friends via SMS, email or Twitter, underscoring quick service restaurant marketers’ potential to capitalize on social shareability.

The pretzel-making company is gearing up for summer by giving fans additional ways to purchase gift cards and showcase their recently bought treats on social media. Consumers will be able to order Auntie Anne’s gift cards within seconds by leveraging the Yiftee platform, suggesting that the QSR brand will be well-positioned to stay at the forefront of its sector this season.

“We’re determined to make the guest experience as convenient as possible, and egift cards are yet another way for us to do that,” said Meredith Wenz, director of marketing at Auntie Anne’s. “Yiftee is simple and makes purchasing gift cards on a smartphone a breeze.

“We think our guests will be thrilled to have a means to more easily share pretzel love with their friends and family.”

Distributing shareable treats
Individuals can take advantage of Auntie Anne’s partnership with Yiftee by visiting the former’s mobile or Web site and clicking on the “egift card” button. This will bring them to a separate page, where users can view the virtual gift card and indicate the amount they would like to spend.

Consumers can designate $5, $20 or $50 to the gift card, or write in their own amount up to $250. A digital delivery fee of $2 will be applied to every purchase.

Once users have selected their desired amount, the Yiftee platform will prompt them to name the recipient by typing in his or her name, or choosing the name from a Twitter network.

This will enable consumers to easily surprise friends whose addresses and contact details they may not know offhand.

If the recipient is not chosen via Twitter, buyers will need to add the person’s email or phone number onto the Yiftee platform.

The gift card can be sent through text message, email or Twitter, and can also be printed for hand delivery if the appropriate checkbox is marked.

Individuals can then check out and complete the payment process.

Auntie Anne’s is also encouraging fans to show off their latest treats by uploading photos to social media via the hashtag #PretzelLove.

Twisting up mobile sales
Auntie Anne’s digital gift card push comes on the heels of its latest product rollout for the Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Pretzel Nuggets. The new snack, which is only available through September 11, may spur Auntie Anne’s fans to purchase a mobile gift card and prompt their friends to try the pretzel nuggets at some point during the summer.

Auntie Anne’s has been delving deeper into mobile commerce over the past twelve months by employing a consumer-facing marketing strategy that relies on third-party app partnerships, its own loyalty app and social media contests.

“Auntie Anne’s already has a strong presence on mobile following the successful launch of our ‘My Pretzel Perks’ app in 2014,” Ms. Wenz said. “Certainly, the partnership with Yiftee will only help to expand awareness and engagement in the digital space.”

Last year, the brand rewarded members of its My Pretzel Perks mobile application and fueled app downloads as well as store visits by offering users a free Original or Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel to commemorate National Pretzel Day during the weekend of April 24-26 (see story).

Meanwhile, over the summer, Auntie Anne’s forayed into the mobile delivery sector following an integration with the Postmates delivery app, enabling consumers in seven test markets to receive salty and sweet snacks in under an hour (see story).

However, offering mobile gift cards to customers could be Auntie Anne’s most lucrative move yet. On-the-go consumers frequently turn to their smartphones to search for last-minute present ideas, making them more likely to purchase a mobile gift card if the option is there.

Other QSR chains may begin using this tactic for their own sales initiatives as well.

“Consumers have been shifting to mobile for everything from purchases to entertainment for a long time, and in the last year the mobile device has finally surpassed the desktop in terms of usership,” Ms. Wenz said. “We want to be where our guests are and Yiftee was a natural choice to help us do that.”