At CTIA in late March, I had a chance to talk with CEO Bruce Springer of mobile commerce start up Transaction Wireless.The company has been working on providing mobile gift card solutions to U.S. retailers, and have successfully launched an initiative with AMC movie theaters and a planned launch for Bass Pro Shops.
They have done some innovative work, but Bruce dropped a bomb at CTIA, a project that might break mobile gift cards into mainstream.The company is readying to launch a mobile gift card “mall” on Facebook.
The way this would work is like this – TW has been able to create a solution where you can buy an online gift card and send it to any recipient with a mobile device.TW automatically configures the “card” into a form factor appropriate for the device, including text messages for low end phones up to bar codes for smartphones.So in the gift card mall, a consumer simply selects the card, pays for it (today, through PayPal or credit card) and includes the recipient’s mobile number. In addition to the gift card mall,retailers can sell mobile gift cards from their own Facebook pages in the same manner.
From there it has the potential to become viral.When a consumer buys a gift card, it also becomes a post on their FB page. The project has real potential to become a success, if it can pass a critical litmus test – will the mobile gift cards be easy for the recipient to redeem?Since so many retailers could potentially be involved and there is no one standard way to redeem the amount (read a code to the clerk, barcode if store can process, etc.), this could prove to slow momentum if not properly executed.