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Applebee’s, American Eagle boost revenue via Valentine’s Day mobile gift cards

February 9, 2011

Applebee’s launches Valentine’s Day-themed mobile gift cards

Applebee’s, American Eagle, AMC Theatres, Blockbuster, Bass Pro Shops and SpaFinder are driving revenue by offering Valentine’s Day digital gift cards that are redeemable via mobile.

Transaction Wireless, a provider of virtual and mobile gift cards, is powering these retailers’ gift card programs. According to a BIGresearch, Consumer Intentions & Actions study in 2010, consumers polled plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day by spending an average of more than $63 on gifts for their spouse or significant other.

“Clients recognize the value and importance of today’s digital lifestyle,” said Doug Schneider, CEO of Transaction Wireless, San Diego. “Virtual and mobile gift cards are the future and the vast majority of retailers recognize the need and value for this type of technology—the challenge can often become implementation.”

Virtual/digital/mobile gifting
With the digital gift cards, gift-givers can create a multimedia experience featuring personalized video messages that recipients keep as a memento.

The cards can be accessed and redeemed via recipients’ mobile devices.

Valentine’s Day greetings and gifts can be posted to Facebook.

Apparel and accessories retailer American Eagle Outfitters and its sister brands aerie and 77kids are offering digital gift cards targeting teens and youth consumers.

An AEO digital gift enables mobile redemption, with no physical card needed, just the gift code on the recipient’s phone.

Restaurant chain Applebee’s is offering digital gift cards that can be sent directly to recipients’ email addresses and mobile phones. Any amount can be sent with a personalized message.

AMC Theatres is letting consumers email a digital gift card with Valentine’s graphics that promises the recipient a movie date at any of AMC Entertainment’s 382 theaters nationwide.


Movie rental giant Blockbuster is promoting its virtual and mobile gift cards via an interactive Web site and its Facebook page.

Blockbuster is offering Valentine’s Day-specific digital cards.

Bass Pro Shops is also promoting Valentine’s Day offerings via its Facebook page, where consumers can select, personalize and send a mobile gift card that is redeemable from mobile phones.


SpaFinder is also participating.

Consumers can find mobile gift cards for various spa treatments at the SpaFinder Facebook Page. They have the option of posting the gift on the recipient’s Facebook Page.


Transaction Wireless’ gift card platform enables the purchase of virtual gift cards directly from any mobile device and social gifting on retailers’ Facebook pages.

Gift-givers can customize mobile gift cards with personal messages, video and pictures and can time the arrival of the card for a specific hour on Valentine’s Day.

The cards are stored on the recipient’s mobile device, helping to ensure that gifts will be used rather than lost or forgotten.

Users on Facebook can choose to share the gift-giving experience on their walls – furthering the social aspect of the customized gift.

Gift cards can be redeemed online or in retail outlets. 

Each retailer has its own marketing programs to promote their cards and special promotions throughout the year. 

For example, Valentine’s Day is a key gifting season for companies such as SpaFinder. 

Transaction Wireless works with retailers on messaging for their corporate Web sites, and Mr. Schneider said that targeted Facebook ads have proven to be quite effective, and cost-effective, marketing. 

“That is the beauty of this technology, especially in the case of social gifting—you are interacting and marketing to a brand’s fan base and then gift-givers are in turn helping to market the service and brand themselves,” Mr. Schneider said.

The multi-billion-dollar gift-card industry has been a boon to retail sales for  years, but the traditional plastic card can be admin-heavy and retailers have no way of tracking purchases or interacting with the purchaser or recipient past the point of purchase, per Transaction Wireless. 

“With virtual and mobile cards, the ability to target a message and understand and track consumers increases exponentially,” Mr. Schneider said. “It also helps reduce the liability problem of breakage, since cards are accessible on the always-with-you mobile device rather than lost or forgotten at home. 

“Most consumers using a customized gift card typically spend beyond the initial face value,” he said. “For traditional plastic this is around 20 percent, but for virtual and mobile this is dramatically higher.

“TW’s patented platform offers a suite of turnkey and customizable services that are tailor-made for retailers to grow customer loyalty, drive more traffic in-store and to their online brand, and provide incremental revenues and margin.”

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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