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Papa John’s spearheads mobile Web for gift card sales

January 22, 2014

Papa John's tries mobile Web gift cards

Papa John’s claims to be the first quick-service pizza chain to roll out digital gift cards via a mobile site, showing a growing opportunity for pizza chains to pivot from mobile ordering to loyalty-building initiatives.

The new mobile gift cards are the latest example of how pizza chains are transforming mobile from one-off initiatives into loyalty-based programs. The mobile gift cards are powered by CashStar.

“Today’s consumer is used to the convenience of mobile to get what they want, when they want it,” said Jim Ensign , vice president of digital marketing at Papa John’s, Louisville, KY.

“But mobile is so much more — it’s about making personal connections, and Papa John’s can help make those connections even better by allowing our fans to easily and instantly send a digital Papa John’s gift card,” he said.

“So this latest in a long line of innovations isn’t just a great customer convenience, it’s a marketing tool in itself.”

Mobile gifting
Consumers can buy a mobile-optimized gift card at

The gift cards can be customized with messages and six different designs.

The digital gift cards are available in a few different value amounts: $10, $25, $50, $75 and $100.

Gift givers can then set a delivery date for the cards and pay for them by typing in their credit card and billing address information.

The gift cards are then sent via email and can be redeemed either in-store or online through a code.

Compared to an app that consumers have to download and use, Papa John’s is smart to roll out mobile gift cards on the Web because of its broader reach.

With more consumers accessing sites and placing orders from their mobile devices, pizza chains including Papa John’s, Pizza Hut and Domino’s are some of the earliest brands to go mobile.

However, other restaurant chains such as Kona Grill are also leveraging mobile for gift cards (see story).

A screenshot of the new mobile gift cards

Mobile pie
Similar to its competitors, Papa John’s was one of the first brands to latch on to mobile as an extension of Web ordering.

The brand has also poured a significant amount of investment into getting consumers to download its mobile app.

In August, the brand ran a sweepstakes to offer consumers the chance to win a prize package to Super Bowl XLVIII that prompted online and mobile orders. The sweepstakes was announced via a push notification (see story).

Additionally, Papa John’s partnered with Viggle last year with a marketing campaign that encouraged consumers to sign-up for the pizza chain’s Papa Rewards loyalty program by downloading the brand’s app (see story).

“Papa John’s understands its customers and as such, has always stayed ahead of the curve when it comes to improving its business through innovative technology,” said Ben Kaplan, CEO of CashStar, Portland, ME.

“With a tech-savvy and increasingly mobile customer-base, offering a mobile gifting solution was a natural progression for the pizza chain,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York 

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