ASDA, a Walmart-owned U.K. retail chain with more than 600 stores, is working with First Data to launch a full-service, B2B e-commerce gift card storefront that makes it easy for ASDA to sell gift cards to other businesses.
The platform allows retailers and other clients to leverage First Data’s integrated program management offerings, including sales and marketing, customer service and support, security and fraud monitoring, fulfillment, and analytics tracking, to market and sell gift cards to corporate customers who may buy them in bulk to offer as employee bonuses or for similar uses.
The new marketplace is an ASDA-branded website managed by First Data. After logging in with their credentials, a purchasing company’s representative can submit a card order ranging from one single card to hundreds of thousands. The purchasing company has the option to have the cards activated immediately or hold them for later.
Businesses buying gift cards in bulk to give to their employees, customers or partners is apparently a thing and First Data has jumped on the trend, enabling ASDA to set up a B2B e-commerce site dedicated to that activity. First Data also is the company behind Gyft, a mobile gift card service and web site that has been around for several years, so it can present itself as an experienced guide for retailers in the gift card market.
It's also territory that is being prowled by gift card seller Raise and CardPool, both of which have their own spins on gift card marketplaces. But First Data's position is to help retailers find their way into the market and set up their own operations.
ASDA seems like it could use some help in setting up a new revenue channel. At one time a top-performing group within Walmart, it has suffered badly from a recent grocery price war in the U.K., according to sector experts. It may need more help than just a new way to sell gift cards, but a new e-commerce site could at least provide some relief.
One thing on ASDA's side is that gift card demand continues to be strong. The Retail Gift Card Association said before last year's holiday season that as many as 75% of holiday shoppers were likely to purchase gift cards, with about 25% buying e-gift cards. Still, retailers and consumers also need to be wary of a growing gift card fraud problem, as incidents of "cracked" gift cards have been on the rise. In this announcement, First Data highlighted its security and anti-fraud tools, so it can have ASDA fully prepared for this new adventure.