Five years ago, my husband and I had an idea to transform the gift card market. We wanted to give the ability for people to save their Gift Cards to a digital wallet on their phone so they would never miss an opportunity to redeem a gift card again. Today, I am the co-founder and COO of Prezzee, Australia’s largest eGift card provider and Australia’s 15th fastest tech company according to Deloitte’s Fast 50. Digital Gift card sales have soared in Australia over the past five years, paving the way for Prezzee to become the latest fintech to launch into the US and UK, just in time for socially distanced gifting ahead of Christmas.
At the beginning of our journey, I spent a lot of time researching to understand what consumers really wanted in a gifting experience. It was clear from my research that Australia was ready to embrace digital gifting. We developed a smart, simple and innovative eGift card offering that could capitalise on mobile commerce trends. With 130+ top Australian brands Prezzee offers the greatest and most diverse selection of merchants here in Australia. But we haven’t stopped there – launching in the UK and US we now have a further 170+ global brands and we have experienced 500% growth year-on-year.
When the pandemic hit, it accelerated eGift cards trends, being one of the only reliable ways to send a gift to friends and family during the lockdowns. We saw sales increases on all key gifting days throughout 2020, with an incredible 250%[i] surge in eGift card sales on Father’s Day.
Corporate sales also spiked six-fold, as companies looked to find ways to reward, incentivise and motivate staff in remote working environments. eGift cards also gave companies the opportunity to socially engage staff in the absence of daily face-to-face connection. Companies could organise virtual team or client events and give each person a Prezzee Smart eGift Card or Uber Eats card, which they could use to purchase food or drink to enjoy together at the virtual gathering.
The pandemic highlighted the key role eGift card companies needed to play in the digital age, and cemented our place in the market.
Supporting local retail
While eGift card sales soared, many small businesses were hit hard by the pandemic. This prompted us to rapidly develop Prezzee Pay, an app that enables local business owners to accept digital gift cards in-store via mobile and QR codes, without expensive hardware or set up costs. Councils, precincts, shopping centres and other organisations aiming to reboot local businesses can distribute their own branded eGift cards that allow beneficiaries to access their vouchers via their phones. They can provide parameters around geo-location, specific retailers and activation within specified time periods to ensure the stimulus cash reaches the right people and right businesses at the right time.
It was an innovative response that aimed to drive foot traffic and spending in designated retail and entertainment precincts in a targeted way when retailers need it most.
Expansion to the US and UK
Prezzee’s sustained growth paved the way for expansion in the US and UK. The opportunity represented by the combined US and UK markets is huge; 42x the size of the Australian market. As a challenger brand in these markets, it presents an exciting opportunity for the team. We first secured a foothold by white-labelling loyalty programs for major global Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) partners, which has helped us hit the ground running with our own Prezzee branded marketplace, which already has more than 100 retailers in the US and over 70 retailers in the UK. We’ve got ambitious plans to triple growth in the next three years.
The secret to our success
In many ways, success has been down to having the right people on the journey. We hired like-minded, innovative people to join our Prezzee team, worked with smart app developers, had invaluable expertise shared from our investors at Precision Group, and established strong relationships with our retail partners. Our success comes from being ambitious, agile and disruptive – a tech company that can take the risks and opportunities that other companies cannot.
The future for Prezzee
There is incredible growth potential for eGift cards, with the Australian market alone estimated to reach $4.3 billion by 2024. Activating this market potential presents an exciting challenge for me and the team at Prezzee. I am already so proud of what we have achieved in just five years, it makes me feel confident that anything is possible in the next five.