How Rajan Anandan-backed Gift Cards India is making mark in online gifting sector
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During Firoz Khan’s stint with Future Group, he saw a lot of gift vouchers being sold online, which ignited the spark in him to kickstart Gift Cards India in the year 2011 with a seed capital of $100,000. The intention was to bring this category to the forefront for every consumer and make it easy and simple to purchase or send gift vouchers to their family and friends.
“My research showed not a single business was focused on this category and given my vast experience in e-commerce and retail business, I thought I could indeed solve this problem. Hence, I started writing the plan and soon moved on to start Gift Cards India,” said Firoz Khan, Co-founder & CEO, Gift Cards India.
Online retail in India was still at its infant stage at that point of time and there were plenty of opportunities to build niche sustainable e-commerce businesses. Gifting was one such segment, where there was an opportunity to differentiate on the different range of products and customer experience.
“The arrival of Gift Cards and easy access to it has helped consumers in rewarding their loved ones with the right gift of their choice. Prepaid cards are the best gifting options that is now expanding the market,” said Khan. Gift Cards India has so far received funds from Malur Narayan, a senior executive with TCS, Blume Ventures and Google India MD Rajan Anandan.
In an interaction with Entrepreneur India, Khan discussed about the benefits of using Gift Cards India, its business model, and growth and expansion plans.
How do you utilize your pre-entrepreneurship experience with Future Group and Rediff.com in your own venture?
My experiences with these companies in technology, sales & operations have helped me build a scalable business. My industry relationship helped me create great partnership in this business and reduce the go-to-market time significantly.
How does the Gift card works and what are the benefits to customers?
With Indian consumers increasingly moving away from traditional gifting to personalised options, there is a lot of scope for the online gifting sector. Pre-paid and gifts cards are designed with an aim to make the shopping experience for the consumers hassle free. Many a times, people do not have the time and patience to physically go and purchase gifts; this is where gift cards can be used. Gift cards are more secured than giving cash. It provides the recipient with an array of brands to select from. The gift card can be used till the balance in the card is exhausted.
What is the number of brands that you have tied up?
We started working with a small set of brands selling through our online portal. We have more than 250 top retail brands, spread across 12,000 outlets, across categories selling through multichannel - online & offline distribution network. We provide products like super card, gift card, gift certificate, gift vouchers & e-voucher to our consumers from India, UK, US and Singapore. The starting range of our gift cards/vouchers is from Rs 500 to Rs 50,000, with an instant delivery option.
What is your business model?
Gift Cards India gets a percentage of sales from every transaction it does in its network. It also caters to corporates and loyalty companies with white label technology solution for its reward and recognition programs.
How does your revenue model look like?
There are 3 revenue channels for GCI – Online Retail, Corporate & Offline Retail.
What are your growth and expansion plans for the next two to three years?
We aim at solving the real time delivery of gift cards for instant gratification and lead the prepaid products market by providing innovative products & services. Our plans for the next year would be to build an application which will help consumers redeem their gift cards in real time at their favorite brand, expand our distribution network pan India and makes sure that the gift cards can be ordered from more convenient locations and introduce our (GCI’s) prepaid gift cards in the digital and physical form to reach out to a larger audience.