In this holiday season, you may be getting Gift cards which you may never use or you may use it partially with some amount still remaining in the cards. According to this story on TechCrunch:
Gift cards are expected to be the most widely-given gift this year, with 69 percent of consumers planning to buy them according to one survey. The annual value of gift cards in the U.S. is estimated to reach $100 billion next year, and about 27 percent of people who get a gift card still have not redeemed it one year later. That came to $8 billion in unredeemed money in 2006.
A new startup called Leverage has a solution to this problem. Leverage allows registering all your Gift cards, manage balances and even earn interests on the balances. Among other things you can:
- Purchase gift cards from top retailers.
- Earn interest on gift cards you register with Leverage (PS: Some fine print reading involved here)
- Swap gift cards for free (Again, some fine print reading here too)
- Manage gift card balances, frequent flyer miles and loyalty programs
- Receive targeted offers and savings from retailers based on gift cards you have, as well as your loyalty program and calendar info. This is done by something Leverage is calling Transparent Targeting which they describe as follows:
When you log in to your Leverage account, you’ll be invited to view extremely targeted offers and savings from retailers in an inbox specifically made for this purpose. These promotional messages will also feature an explanation as to why the retailer feels their message specifically matches your interests. The targeting only happens with anonymous factors like age, gender, location, personal interests, recent gift card transactions, loyalty program membership, and upcoming gift occasions when sending you these deals. In our next release, while exploring the offers specific to you, you will also have feedback mechanisms which you can use to fine tune all of the future offers to be more and more to your tastes. You will literally be able to turn the “volume” up and down (or even press mute) on a retailer by retailer basis. This is what we call transparent targeting, since the relationship between you and the retailer is more open.
And what does Leverage get in return? According to TechCrunch:
But its (Leverage) main source of income will be through lead generation and data analytics. Most retailers have no idea who ends up getting their gift cards. As more people sign up for Leverage, it can tell those retailers the demographics of the people who hold their cards in an aggregated, anonymous way
The real opportunity for Leverage, though, will be in ads targeted at people who already hold a cash incentive to shop at a particular store. For most people, a gift card is really just a coupon—53 percent end up spending more than the amount on the card. Leverage will know who holds cards for which retailers and will be able to send targeted messages to them on behalf of those retailers.