Staples rolls out e-gift cards

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Staples launched an electronic gift card service for consumers in partnership with CashStar, a digital incentive and rewards company. The retailer's goal is to give consumers a more convenient way to purchase gift cards and help them to order, personalize and send them via e-mail.

The service, launched November 5 and timed to coincide with the holiday season, also allows consumers to select the denomination and the day and time they want it to be sent via e-mail. They can include a message or picture to accompany the gift.

“The market is definitely moving in that direction, and we wanted to be in the loop as far as offering the most flexibility to customers,” said Allison Ledoux, senior manager of Staples gift cards. “Even if someone wants to purchase a camera but doesn't know which model to give them, this can be a great option.”

She emphasized that digital delivery allows customers to avoid potential holiday season traffic and late delivery they could face with mail-order gifts or gift cards.

While Staples has no specific plans to tie the e-gift cards to targeted incentives or promotions, the company will work with CashStar to track purchases, spot trends and gather information about customers' purchasing behavior.

“From the Staples standpoint, CashStar offers up insight about our customers — when they shop and how,” said Ledoux. “We will be able to see if a certain gift card design is more appealing or see who is last-minute shopping for Christmas and that sort of thing.”

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