T.G.I. Friday's Pushes for More Online Gift Certificate Sales

T.G.I. Friday's Inc. this holiday season is looking to sell 65 percent to 70 percent of its $25 gift certificates online to adults and small and medium-size businesses.

Toward that end, the Dallas-based restaurant chain for the third consecutive year will use FastForward Inc.'s Select eMarketing solution. As part of the effort, buyers of the $25 gift certificate program will be enticed with free software on a CD-ROM.

“The program [so far] has resulted in a 60 percent upsell versus all other online gift certificate choices of $5, $10 and $20 in 2001,” said Stephen M. Wayhart, vice president of marketing at FastForward, Pittsburgh. “This means that by utilizing Select, six out of 10 online consumers took advantage of the $25 gift certificate offer, resulting in additional gift certificate revenue for T.G.I. Friday's,” he said.

Fridays.com offers buyers of the $25 certificates a choice of four free CD-ROMs: ESPN's 2-Minute Drill; the second edition of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”; The Simpsons — Virtual Springfield; and PrintMaster version 11.

Buyers of the $5, $10 and $20 gift certificates are not entitled to the free CD-ROM.

In the last holiday season, about 50 percent of Friday's gift certificate purchases were made on www.fridays.com versus in-store.

FastForward's Select module is part of the company's Easy Platform for Interactive Commerce. This solution delivers gift certificates and promotions through a single interface.

Now, FastFoward is working to incorporate its Awards-Sweepstakes survey and Rewards loyalty features on fridays.com. Called Inform, the tool allows Friday's marketing managers to identify patterns in consumer behavior. Promotions can be tailored based on this knowledge.

“T.G.I. Friday's will be able to re-market to these customers and prospects more effectively since all of this rich customer data will be available for review in one unified database,” Wayhart said.

So, if an online visitor completes a survey or responds to an e-mail, that information is collected in a unique profile for the individual. Friday's accesses that information through the Inform tool to analyze the customer's behavior to better target and market to that person.

The tool goes live this holiday season and in the first quarter of next year.

“Via a more effective one-to-one dialogue, we expect that loyalty will increase,” Wayhart said.

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