The Gift that Keeps On Giving…and Giving? Interactive Gift Cards

According to Cory Perkins, Co-founder and CEO of, restaurant gift cards are the cards most in demand for gift giving. “It’s perfect for restaurants because it’s built on consumer demand. The gifting market is year-round and an everyday occurrence.” And when “brick and mortar” is closed, business continues to be generated online.

Perkins has not just done his homework, he’s lived it. A former investment banker, he founded iActive gift cards in 2007. Borne from that effort, GiftFly was founded in 2011 with the mission to replace plastic gift cards with custom online cards. Giftfly has fortified its accessibility by leveraging the popularity of the Yelp review site, 1.3 million businesses strong. The partnership with Yelp makes for a fast, easy and creative gift-giving experience for consumers. Gift-givers simply choose a geographic location, select a business and instantly send a custom online gift card to friends or family via Facebook, email or text message.

Virtual cards are not brand new, but profits realized from the sale of them may be, largely due to “uplift,” the fact that consumers typically spend about 60 percent more than a card’s face value, contributing to an optimistic bottom line for specialty retailers like restaurants. Given that gift cards have been the number one gift in the country for the last eight years running and are the most-used promotional medium, Perkins estimates that sales of the cards generate 2-3 thousand percent ROI for companies who offer them.

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So why GiftFly? Perks to the recipient are obvious. Who doesn’t like the thoughtful gift of a meal out? But payback for merchants is exponential. Subscribers benefit from access to the email addresses of both sender and receiver, building a powerful foundation for a company loyalty program, and a platform for future promotional efforts, with every new sale. Virtual gift cards are viral: there is always someone on the other end. No infrastructure investment is necessary, including the need for a relationship with Visa or MasterCard. Says an enthusiastic Cory Perkins, “The functionality is flawless. We give you all the tools to put on your website. It’s a powerful product for them [restaurants] because now you have a product that people can buy remotely for patrons in your area. It’s great for long-distance giving. It’s social, it’s mobile, and it’s free.”

GiftFly may be the tool for you. To get the details, or to sign up for free, visit