Gyft is pretty well-known in the bitcoin world. The service allows users to purchase digital gift cards with bitcoin or credit card for hundreds of retailers. Users can also upload their plastic gift cards to their Gyft wallet so that cards can be stored securely and retrieved anywhere with an Internet connection. And now, Gyft is expanding its services to merchants with Gyft Cloud – “the ultimate mobile gift card solution.”
Introducing: Gyft Cloud
With Gyft Cloud, businesses will no longer have to worry about the hassle of offering plastic gift cards.
“Offering plastic gift cards can be cost prohibitive and an operational nightmare for small to mid-sized business owners – so much so that an estimated 90% of them do not offer gift cards. So even though many owners want to sell gift cards, they just don’t have the budget or capabilities to enable them.”
-Vinny Lingham, CEO of Gyft
With Gyft’s cloud-based POS system, businesses will be able to easily sell digital gift cards that will be securely stored on customer’s cell phones. Furthermore, customers will be able to refill their cards at any time, which can save a lot on credit card transaction fees. In addition, merchants can choose to offer in-store credit instead of refunds to retain customers.
Although Gyft Cloud is primarily designed for merchants (small to medium sized businesses in particular), the service could potentially have many benefits for customers. Stores could offer incentives to customers who use Gyft Cloud, since stores would benefit from minimised transaction fees. Furthermore, most customers would appreciate a unified, digital gift solution rather than relying on several easy-to-lose plastic gift cards. Although Gyft Cloud will not directly support bitcoin, merchants can use BitPay to sell cards in-store, and Gyft plans on allowing merchants to sell cards on Gyft.com (which will support bitcoin).
But Will it Work?
Gyft Cloud actually reminds me a lot of Apple’s Passbook. In fact, Passbook can do just about everything Gyft Cloud can do, and more. However, creating and distributing passes requires programming knowledge and isn’t very intuitive. Gyft Cloud, on the other hand, would be easy to use for both businesses and customers, which could lead to more widespread adoption than Passbook. But whether or not Gyft succeeds where Apple failed remains to be seen.