The Gifts & Loyalty
The Gift & Loyalty

Latest News

Seamless signs agreement with Contis Group in the UK for mobile payments solution SEQR

July 30th, 2014

UK based Contis Group is an international provider of prepaid Visa debit account and gift card solutions. The company has signed an agreement with Seamless (OMX: SEAM) that provides Seamless customers the ability to transact using the SEQR-app in the UK. They will be able to manage their SEQR account on-line using the Contis web portal to load and top up their SEQR account, check balances and manage their use of this innovative PoS solution. SEQR-app.

In an extremely competitive market, UK retailers are looking for new and innovative ways to reward loyal customers and find new ways to drive traffic to their stores. Retailers are looking for ways to get customers to use reloadable, so called closed loop products, to maintain low transaction costs, while consumers want to limit the amount of cards and papers in their wallet.

Together with Contis, the mobile payment solution SEQR will eliminate the need for physical gift cards for the larger retailers in the UK. Today a significant percentage of purchases in the UK are made with prepaid stored value cards and they can now be accessed through SEQR instead, says Seamless CEO Peter Fredell.

The collaboration means that also smaller retailers and cafés that would like to offer their customers paper punch cards can enhance the customer experience by offering them to go mobile instead. In addition, through SEQR retailers can offer a method of payment, connection to loyalty programs, coupons and digital receipts – all in one single app.

Contis Group Managing Director, Mike Fromant commented: “Contis Group, along with our recently launched brand, the Gift & Loyalty Company, are continually aiming to deliver innovation in the sector and the next generation of prepaid gift and loyalty programmes. By supporting the Seamless SEQR product we will be able to include this innovative mobile payment solution into our portfolio, and deliver tailor made solutions and develop new concepts for the fast moving international retail and leisure industry.


ABOUT CONTIS

Contis, as a Principal Member of Visa (Europe) and a specialist provider of international end-to-end payment solutions. We have the infrastructure and platforms behind each scheme providing our clients and their customers with a trouble free prepaid, gift and loyalty card experience. Contis is a business built on a heritage of financial expertise and experience, in payment processing, prepaid and gift card scheme development, processing and management.

With full control of our own developed systems means we can change, adapt and respond to customers’ needs and environmental challenges and regulatory changes quickly, efficiently and cost effectively. Our wealth of experience, evolving processing, sophisticated systems, which are managed and developed in-house, ensure we provide the best end-to-end prepaid payment solutions that are supported by world banking standard systems and our excellent customer service teams.


ABOUT SEQR, by Seamless

SEQR (se•cure) is Sweden’s and Europe’s most used mobile wallet in stores and online. SEQR enables anybody with a smartphone to pay in stores, at restaurants, parking lots and online, transfer money at no charge, connect loyalty programs, store receipts digitally and receive offers and

promotions directly through one mobile app. Through the SEQR app, the user simply scans or taps a QR-code/NFC at check-out and approves the purchase by entering a PIN code. Fast, smooth and safe, SEQR’s payment solution enables merchants to lower interchange fees significantly compared to those charged by traditional card companies. SEQR’s unique transaction platform has been developed by Seamless, one of the world’s largest suppliers of payment systems for mobile phones.

Founded in 2001 and active in 30 countries, Seamless handles more than 3, 1 billion transactions annually through 525 000 active sales outlets. 5 200 merchants have chosen SEQR including Sweden’s largest grocery chains, fast food chains and national retailer chains including McDonald’s, Hemköp and Ur&Penn. SEQR was launched in Romania in 2013, in Finland in 2014 and is scheduled to launch in Belgium in 2014. In 2013, SEQR won the Mobile Money Global Award for Best Mobile Money Deployment in Europe. Seamless is traded on Nasdaq OMX Stockholm, under the SEAM ticker. www.seqr.com

For more information:
Peter Fredell, CEO Seamless, +46 8 564 878 00, peter.fredell@seamless.se
Anders Forssten, Chief Marketing Officer Seamless, +46 705 10 47 31, anders.forssten@seamless.se

This information is such information that Seamless Distribution AB (publ) is required to disclose pursuant to the Swedish Securities Market Act and/or the Swedish Financial Instrument Trading Act. The information was released for publication on July 30, 2014 at 07.50 am (CET).

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Diversification and Market Demand Drives Continued Growth for Contis Group

June 2nd, 2014

02 June 2014 - Contis Group, one of Europe’s leading e-money institutions, has posted impressive year-end growth figures following a period of corporate expansion and diversification, supported by continued demand from the growing global prepaid market and the addition of new products and services.

The company has built upon its platform and licensing developments in 2012, which gave Contis total end-to-end ownership of all implementation and programme management processes including an E-Money License covering all EU states and Principal Membership of Visa, to successfully position its  flagship divisions. Firstly, the company’s e-money current account, Visa debit  and rewards programme, credEcard, has continued to contract credit unions, housing associations and other welfare support providers as they move to support their members with ethical financial services.

Recently, Contis  launched its new flagship brand, The Gift & Loyalty Company to develop Contis’ successful activities in the closed and open gift card sector into an internationally positioned brand, dedicated to the development of disruptive gifting solutions in the changing world of retail, travel and entertainment. Finally, Contis Financial Services has demonstrated significant contract wins and  growth demand for its white label Visa products, with projects such as its Visa prepaid debit card in partnership with the Latvian National Airline, airBaltic, prepaid current account Ffrees and international haulage company TCS Ltd which have all delivered significant revenues since launch.

These factors have seen Contis grow its annualised monthly recurring revenue at a compound annual growth rate of 202% between June 2012 and March 2014. Expansion in the total number of prepaid accounts operating on Contis’ platform by 385% between June 2013 and March 2014 has contributed to this overall growth, in addition to the number of monthly prepaid transactions rocketing by 339% between January 2013 and March 2014. With year on year revenue having grown 93% for financial year 2014, management is forecasting  further growth of 147% for financial year ending March 2015.

Peter Cox, Executive Chairman of Contis Group, comments: “We have an aggressive growth plan for the next five years which includes further  expansion in the UK and Eastern Europe, following the launch of our Baltic HQ in Latvia. This activity will focus on Scandinavia, the Baltics and the CIS region where there is a proven demand for our bank-like card-based solution. Through our in-house development team we are continuing to deliver innovative products and services across a range of vertical markets and to further refine our current financial services  offering which continues to demonstrate its ability to deliver the services associated with traditional banking to people across Europe.

“This aggressive growth will require additional funding and we are working to secure a significant capital inflow which will place us in an even stronger position to take advantage of the ground swell of opportunities being presented to the Group and the rapidly growing prepaid sector.”

According to Capgemini, the prepaid card market is one of the fastest growing non-cash payment markets in the world with global, open loop prepaid card transaction volume growing at a 20%+ compound annual growth and is expected to reach 16.9 billion in 2014. The Boston Consulting Group expects the global prepaid market to reach $840 billion by 2017, with Europe expected to represent $156 billion.

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The Empire Cinemas Film Card

May 27th, 2014

Background

With their flagship site in London’s Leicester Square, Empire Cinemas operate 141 screens in 16 cinemas across the UK. The Empire Cinemas brand stands for a total quality entertainment package, providing quality cinemas staffed by individuals who are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about film.

The Challenge

Having taken the decision to launch a Gift Card, Empire Cinemas was seeking a processor that could deliver a re-loadable Prepaid Card that could be used across all customer channels to build a unique customer experience and grow customer loyalty by rewarding regular
cinema-goers.

The Solution

We worked closely with Empire Cinemas and their existing till and web providers to develop a closed loop card that film fans could purchase online (using our secure Shopping Basket facility and fulfilment service) and via cinema tills. The Film Card was developed into “more than a gift”, with four different standard and Christmas-themed carriers and the option to purchase a metal film reel tin. What makes the Film Card really unique is that it is designed to be a reusable card as well as being given as a gift, and regular cinema-goers can top-up their cards online, at the till point and on touch screen kiosks in all Empire Cinemas.

The Results

We delivered a complete solution in just 6 weeks, launching the UK’s first re-loadable cinema Prepaid Card in time to capitalise on the Christmas sales peak (which accounted for 58% of sales in the first year). The switch from paper to plastic increased Empire’s prepaid sales by 22%, with online being a particularly successful (and new) sales channel for Empire.

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The Contis Group launches The Gift & Loyalty Company to Transform Gift Card Provider Market

May 21st, 2014

International organisation to challenge one-size-fits-all delivery models with express focus on bespoke, personalised and integrated gift and loyalty solutions

21 May, 2014 – The international market for gift cards, rewards and loyalty schemes faces considerable disruption today following the launch of The Gift & Loyalty Company, a major new brand intent on displacing ‘one-size-fits-all’ gift card, loyalty and reward providers globally, by designing and delivering entirely bespoke solutions for major retailers worldwide.

As part of the Contis Group of companies, The Gift & Loyalty Company will consolidate the group’s existing international business in this sector and seek aggressive growth driven through an express focus on furnishing tier-one retail brands around the world with custom built, flexible and versatile gift card and loyalty solutions.

“As the mobile, online and in-store services of retailers blend into a single, converged customer experience, the value-potential of gift and loyalty programmes is rocketing,” comments Dannie McDonald, Managing Director, The Gift & Loyalty Company. “A new, flexible and agile approach is required if brands are to fully capitalise on this potential. At present there are too many providers in this sector which, despite the incredible flexibility offered by today’s gift and loyalty platforms, remain content to deliver off-the-shelf and inflexible solutions that are, frankly,  out of date. The Gift and Loyalty Company is launching to challenge these preconceptions and demonstrate what can be achieved with an inventive, multichannel solution built on our next generation service platform.  We are already operating internationally and are trusted by some of the world’s biggest brands. As part of the Contis Group, a Principal Member of Visa and a major global force in payments technology group, we have both the resources and the technical ability to redefine this sector.”

The launch of The Gift & Loyalty Company reflects Contis Group’s continued drive to invest in solutions that redefine the markets they serve and create unique and was previously unachievable value for clients. The delivery of purpose built gift and loyalty solutions enable merchants in today’s hyper-connected and customer-centric market to personalise and deepen their relationships with customers, generate new revenue s and drive competitive differentiation.

“To succeed in today’s market, a brand’s gift and loyalty platform should give it the freedom to focus on its customers,” adds McDonald. “Only by understanding their motivations, aspirations and expectations can they create the truly enticing promotions which lead to extra profits. Too many promising brands are being strangled by their systems, unable to capitalise on customer trends because they can’t be fleet of foot. We solve these issues by designing a gift and loyalty programme that is based on each client’s unique commercial requirements and then applying our service platform that serves these specific objectives. Working in this way, we can ensure that everything is tuned to the needs of the client; nothing is redundant.”

The Gift and Loyalty Company will continue serve the Contis Group’s existing gift card customers, including Virgin, PizzaExpress and Le Pain Quotidien.

Mike Fromant, Managing Director, Contis Group comments: “Contis has grown and diversified considerably in recent years, offering Visa debit and prepaid payment cards, e-account facilities, payment processing services and corporate expense solutions for international companies. Our gift and loyalty offering has also grown and now commands the market differentiation it deserves.”

The UK Gift Card & Voucher Association estimates the UK gift card market alone to be worth £5bn per annum, with consumer sales of gift cards growing year on year by more than 7.5%. In Q3/13, the vast majority of retail gift card sales came from category-specific gift cards which made up 85% of the total, indicating that market demand for tailored solutions remains strong.

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Shoring Up a House of Cards

April 10th, 2014

The production of a major brand’s gift card scheme can present numerous challenges for Retail Managers, says Dannie McDonald, Managing Director, Gift & Loyalty Co. But it doesn’t have to be this way…

In my opinion, gift card managers for major UK brands don’t get the recognition that they deserve. Theirs is a tough role – not only do they need to synchronise the operations of numerous and varying suppliers in order to deliver schemes within budget, they also need to do so according to cast iron deadlines set by the promotional schedules their cards are designed to serve.

The expected returns on these campaigns are significant; fiscal ROI is just the start. Senior management expect, not unreasonably, that their gift card schemes should demonstrate a quantifiable and positive impact on brand visibility, customer loyalty and footfall, and of course increased spend. But because the different service components required to deliver and manage a gift card product are conventionally supplied by a range of different partners, the pursuit of these goals often requires the manager to marry internal and external resources, which can easily draw their focus away from other priorities, like planning the next line of gift card promotions.

The commercial gains from these initiatives, however, are well known and with more major brands offering gift card schemes than ever before, the market in the UK is both big and growing (currently estimated to be worth around £4 billion per year[1]).

More schemes mean that there are now more gift card managers than ever before. And from my recent conversations, they all seem to be asking the same question: ‘isn’t there a better way of doing things?’ Unquestionably, the answer is ‘yes’.

This issue of ‘service fragmentation’ in gift card programme management is hampering the gift card industry’s operational agility. When this issue is resolved (and it can be, quite easily) the world starts to look like a very different place indeed.

Currently, many gift card managers are committing a great deal of time and money to programme management, which could be invested elsewhere, in getting ahead of the pack; analysing customer behaviour; or focusing on new innovations in order to inform the next wave of cards. In extreme cases, service fragmentation creates an environment where the manager spends all of their time fire fighting; battling fluctuations in transaction charges, locking into partner negotiations in order to overcome service rigidity, or attempting to access, isolate and interpret meaningful customer data held externally.

This can result in a loss of strategic control and prevent brands from budgeting effectively for their gift card schemes. What’s worse is that this can cost a brand its competitive edge because its own processes prevent it from responding to market and customer requirements in a timely fashion.

The solution lies in the consolidation of providers. Engaging a provider that has total ownership over all the implementation and management processes required to launch and operate a gift card initiative will vastly reduce service fragmentation and enable managers to retain (or offload) as much of this work as they wish to, thus buying back the time they need to keep pace with ever customer dynamics and opportunities in the marketplace. There are less than a handful of providers operating to this model across Europe (Contis is one), so a strategic review of the category shouldn’t be too onerous.

Potential benefits include:

Increased speed to market: programmes can be developed and brought to market in a fraction of the time typically experienced with a fragmented services model.
Heightened agility in programme development and expansion: schemes are scalable and can be customised easily in line with customer and market needs. A single provider has an integrated view of all aspects of card delivery enabling a new level of management control.
Cost efficiency and transparency: brands receive a clearly structured pricing model with low transaction costs. Unlike providers engaged in a fragmented model, end-to-end providers are not constrained by single sources of revenue (e.g. transaction charges) or multiple margins and are free to mould a solution specific to a client’s individual requirements.
Simplicity of management:  simply put, an end-to-end provider gives in house managers ‘one throat to choke’.  Despite this, best-in-class providers are breathing comfortably, enabling their clients to reallocate internal resources to business and programme development.

It’s good to know that gift card managers have the grit and determination to make their programmes successful and grow the gift card industry. But at its core, this is an argument about business process efficiency and resource allocation, not about who can handle the most pressure.   Senior management will be most responsive to evidence of enhanced performance, agility and innovation in their brand’s gift card schemes. A new end-to-end model for gift card delivery is, in my opinion, the fastest and most economical way to achieve this.

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