- Seeks to elevate gift cards into the mainstream
- Gift cards to benefit businesses
IT IS said that it is better to give than to receive. While that may be true, the act of finding the right gift for someone can be difficult. Malaysian startup Unwrappd wants to alleviate that problem and help boost business for merchants by way of introducing gift cards as an alternative.
Unwrappd was founded by Charles Chan, David Teow and Tay Yuan Khoon, who were all part of a management training programme at a bank. The trio decided to pool their resources for their venture, believing that gift cards are an upcoming trend in Malaysia that has yet to be exploited.
“Having studied in the United States for five years, I saw how gift cards were widely used there,” said Tay who is the head of technology. “We saw there was an opportunity to elevate gift cards into the mainstream gift-giving culture of Malaysia by not only bringing a larger variety of gift card options to consumers but also making them available for purchase across the country.”
He had observed that gift cards were in fact, the most wanted gift during any gift-giving celebration. People genuinely want to receive them as they provide a flexibility that traditional coupons or vouchers cannot.
Unwrappd’s head of design and marketing Chan said they hope to bring together a large selection of gift cards under one platform so as to be able to obtain a combination of different brands without having to deal with each brand individually.
This is in line with the company’s direction to reach out to not just individual merchants but to corporates as well. Coming from a corporate background themselves, the trio from Unwrappd understand that employee rewards via vouchers are not favourable.
“Instead of giving boring gift vouchers, corporates can reward their employees with gift cards that give them the flexibility to give gifts that are more personal and relevant to the recipient,” said Teow.
Chan elaborates that they want to handle the development and launching of gift card programmes from the design and printing of gift cards to back-end programme management through the utilisation of its app (on both iOS and Android) which has the ability to scan QR codes used during transactions while adding an additional layer of security with security pins.
Apart from driving greater customer retention, the bigger value is being able to capture the transactional behaviour of customers by knowing where the gift card was purchased, when and where it was used and when they last reloaded value into it.
“Gift cards are like wallet-sized billboards that remind customers to visit merchants. This also creates opportunities for merchants to gain higher sales at a lower cost as there is no need to sacrifice profits to fund discounts or promotions,” Chan added.
Spreading the word to the right customers
Unwrappd believes that gift cards also act as a great vehicle for recommendations that help drive interested customers who are actually keen on the products be it foodies who love cafe hopping or sports enthusiasts in search for new workout clothes.
Teow, who is Unwrappd’s head of business development, said that they have been actively pitching to merchants over the past few months. Thus far, the response has been positive and receptive to the concept of gift cards.”
“For example, one of the merchants that we have on-boarded is Tsujiri, who are fully aware of the benefits of gift cards but they had no capability of doing it as it requires a lot of time and investment to develop on their own,” he said.
At present, Unwrappd is offering physical cards as they feel that people respond best to a physical gift. But at the same time, they are working on a digital version of their gift cards that allow a recipient to digitise a physical card and carry the stored value within an app.
Unwrappd is among the top 30 startups selected under Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s KNEO (Khazanah Nasional Entrepreneurship Outreach) programme and is currently undergoing an acceleration process under 1337 Ventures.
The three feel that their time at 1337 Ventures has been fruitful as not only are they able to connect with other startups but they have learned a lot on how using tools to maximise their business’ effectiveness without driving up costs.
“Without 1337 Ventures, we would have to experiment a lot to see what works for us. In a way it is like being handed a cheat sheet as experienced entrepreneurs provide us advice on best practices,” said Chan.
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