I plead guilty to enjoying a cold beer or two, and I’ve watched with amazement as the decade-long bull market in the craft beer industry shows no signs of abating.
Del Currie was sending $700 worth of gift cards to friends and family at Christmas a year ago and it occurred to him that a good portion of that money would go unspent. “Wouldn’t it be great,” he thought, “if I didn’t have to pay for these gift cards until they were actually redeemed?”
That’s when the Moola Street Card was conceived.
Currie, an Ireland-born Web developer who lives in San Diego, launched Moola Street in November. It serves as a gift card conduit in which the sender only pays 10 percent of the value upfront and doesn’t pay a penny more until their recipient redeems their Moola Street Card.
How do they redeem it? Recipients go to moolastreet.com, enter the code from their card and select up to three gift cards from a menu of national retailers, restaurants, department stores and others who have partnered with the company. The gift cards are delivered electronically or mailed to the recipient. Each Moola Street Card must have a minimum value of $25. Cards can have an expiration of between one and three months.
Moola Street skirts around the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, which prohibits expiration dates on gift cards of less than five years after the card is purchased, because the card is technically not a gift card. It’s classified as a “conditional gift.” It’s a creative approach to making the matter of gift card “breakage” more palpable to purchasers. Currie and his partner, Lou Corbo, have applied for a patent on the 10 percent down business model.
As of January, Moola Street had signed on 44 gift card supplier partners, including Target, Bath & Body Works, Zappos, Barnes and Noble and Bass Pro Shops. Currie said more are being added all the time.
Currie says despite their late 2011 launch and a minimal marketing budget, the company sold several thousand Moola Street Cards during the recent holiday season. Sales were mostly on the consumer side, but Moola Street Cards present an enticing savings opportunity to companies that use gift cards in promotions and incentive programs.
Most of the money put on gift cards gets redeemed, but analyst Brian Riley of TowerGroup told the Wall Street Journal that since 2005, $41 billion in money on gift cards has been lost or is likely never to be cashed in. Stores can’t count money received from the gift givers who purchase the cards as revenue until they are redeemed. How retailers deal with those “lost” funds is complicated. Some states don’t allow companies to keep money from unused gift card cash.
Moola Street keeps some gift card inventory on hand, but for the most part doesn’t purchase cards until they are selected by Moola Card recipients. Thus, if a card isn’t redeemed by its expiration date, the buyer saves 90 percent of the purchase price and Currie pockets the 10 percent upfront charge. As his first batch of cards neared its expiration date, about 35 percent were unredeemed.
Of course, companies want the recipients of gift cards to redeem them if they are used as employee incentives or gifts. But if a company runs a consumer promotion or a tradeshow promotion — for example, a free gift card with a test drive of a car — whether or not the gift card gets redeemed becomes less important to the company. In fact, once the incentive has done its job, i.e., gotten a salesperson some face time with a prospect, a company would just as soon pay 10 percent of the incentive cost.
More information is available at moolastreet.com or by calling 800-233-8814.
Legendary products and service
With 100 years of legendary service and quality products, L.L.Bean Gift Cards are a great solution for business incentives, rewards and loyalty programs. Gift Card recipients can choose from thousands of items including apparel, home goods, outdoor gear and more, all backed by L.L.Bean’s 100% satisfaction guarantee and free shipping all of the time. Redeemable toward any L.L.Bean or L.L.Bean Signature product or Outdoor Discovery Schools course, trip or tour. Accepted online, by phone or at any L.L.Bean store or outlet. For more details, call L.L.Bean Direct to Business at 800-832-1889 or visit www.llbeanbusiness.com.
A gift card that gets things done
Motivate your valued employees and customers with The Home Depot gift cards. When you give the gift of doing, you get a lot in return. E-mail delivery possible for your programs. Your recipients can order online or print out and use in stores. For more information, visit www.homedepotgiftcard.com
Great rewards for active employees
Foot Locker Gift Cards are a great way to reward your employees and customers. Available in plastic and eCard formats in multiple designs. Also available in U.S. and Canadian dollars. No fees or expiration date. For more details, call 800-690-5996 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.footlockergiftcards.com.
Individual incentive travel
Give your top performers their moment in the sun. Marriott Individual Incentives allow you to properly recognize your indispensable superstars. The ultimate reward is a fabulous stay at one of Marriott’s 3,600 locations worldwide. They deserve it. For more details, call 800-835-7754 or visit www.MarriottMotivates.com.
Maui Jim sunglasses
With more than 60 styles of world-class sunglasses along with apparel and accessories, the Maui Jim Gift Card has everything you’d expect from the leading brand of eyewear. And with the flexibility of its new gift card program, it’s even easier to give the Aloha spirit. Consider Maui Jim Gift Cards for incentive programs, corporate gifts, loyalty awards or consumer promotions. For more details on using the gift cards in your next program, call 800-614-6790 or e-mail email@example.com.
The gift of wellness
Give the gift that offers universal appeal and unlimited spa-tential! Spa & Wellness Gift Cards by Spa Week are valid year-round at over 5,000 spas across North America. They are easy to redeem, never expire and have no added fees. Founder of the popular biannual Spa Week event, Spa Week Media is the fastest growing, most successful spa marketing company in North America. Visit SpaWeek.com today to find the perfect spa experience near you! For more information, call Heather Abbott at 212-352-8098, Ext. 118 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Give the great outdoors
As the world’s foremost outfitter of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, Cabela’s has been providing quality gear for over 50 years. Let us tailor a hassle-free gift card program for you. For more information, call 800-753-3219 or e-mail email@example.com, or visit www.corporateoutfitter.cabelas.com.