Technology

How that gift voucher could come in digital form this time

gift-pesa

Pamela Muriuki, founder of Giftpesa. PHOTO | POOL

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Summary

  • Firms usually have to distribute the vouchers across the country to all their benefiting staff, which is a challenge.
  • Now with just the text message, you can redeem the electronic voucher in over 1,500 stores including all supermarkets, clothes stores, eateries and Shell filling stations.
  • What’s more, you do not have to use the entire allocation of your e-gift and can spend part of it at different times.

The festive season, wedding events and end-year company performance reviews are always full of gift vouchers, with the beneficiaries redeeming them in supermarkets and select retail shops.

Firms usually have to distribute the vouchers across the country to all their benefiting staff, which is a challenge. Redeeming them also poses some setbacks.

To redeem the voucher, one has to visit a specific supermarket within a specific period of time and spend the entire amount at once. If the voucher limit is breached, you have to top up with your own cash.

That is where Pamela Muriuki and the company she co-founded, Gift Pesa come in, seeking to send the paper gift voucher into oblivion through a revolutionary innovation, and making distribution and redemption of vouchers more flexible.

Her tech startup allows users to send an e-voucher from a laptop in any location directly into your phone with just a simple text message.

“What we realised is that corporates like insurance companies who want to reward their salespeople across the country would incur huge costs just sending the gift vouchers and redeeming was still a problem because some supermarkets were not in every location,” Ms Muriuki says.

Now with just the text message, you can redeem the electronic voucher in over 1,500 stores including all supermarkets, clothes stores, eateries and Shell filling stations.

Supermarkets such as Naivas, Carrefour, Quickmart, Eastmart, Hotpoint, Cleanshelf, Magunas, and Maathai accept the digital voucher.

One can also redeem GiftPesa vouchers at Shell Petrol stations, Java House, Artcaffe, Pizza Inn, Galitos, Inscor, Chicken in, Goodlife pharmacy, Amora, City walk, Lc Waikiki, Woolworths and Jade.

What’s more, you do not have to use the entire allocation of your e-gift and can spend part of it at different times.

GiftPesa is already attracting attention and pulling big corporates that promise to scale it into the mainstream.

Safaricom included it among the first application on the new M-Pesa super app supporting its growth by giving it access to all its merchants with the telco’s payment platforms.

Safaricom will also help the company scale to other markets across Africa with the company keeping a close eye on the massive Ethiopian population to gain a foothold in the region

The core team has been invited to South Korea, a Sh1 billion daily person-to-person gifting market, for a benchmarking study that will help them roll out a similar product in Kenya this coming January.

Ms Muriuki said they have been able to sign up all banks in Kenya, telecoms, insurance companies, multinationals and many others to digitise their corporate gifting as more corporates see the value proposition in his business.

“We charge a minimal convenience fee for sending e-vouchers and companies which used to spend so much money to distribute the physical vouchers have seen the befits we offer,” she said.

GiftPesa is changing the way gifting is done, and with just a mobile subscription number, one can send and receive a gift from anyone, anywhere in Kenya, and soon in Africa.

Since 2018 the firm has fine-tuned its platform providing convenience to the corporates in issuing and distributing gifts but also to recipients in spending the rewards.

An aspect they found in high demand is the need for accountability and transparency on how the gift vouchers are issued, distributed, confirm on receipt and utilised.

Built-in features give a report that shows the number of vouchers disbursed, the list of recipients and the status of the voucher, whether redeemed or not.

The statement summary updates redemption rates in real-time as they happen. The report can always be filled for recording purposes or future audit purposes

GiftPesa enables the corporates to recall un-utilised vouchers after 12 months. Recalled vouchers are credited back to the business e-wallet for further re-allocations

If someone has not utilised the voucher for long, the account administrator can send a reminder SMS to the voucher recipient to proceed and redeem before the voucher is recalled.

The recipients were asked how best they could be empowered to fully enjoy the gift without feeling rushed to spend the amount in one go.

“By digitising the end-end process and integrating with several merchants, GiftPesa gives users the convenience of doing this in the shortest time possible while providing recipients flexibility on how to use the gift vouchers either progressively or by sharing with others,” Ms Muriuki said.

She said at the heart of his company is the fact they are empowering customers who may want to spread the love of giving by sharing their gift voucher with family, friends or those in need in the society.

Globally gifting market is estimated at $56 billion (Sh6.2 trillion) and growing by 16 percent annually.

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