Giift seeks to disrupt the multi-billion dollar Loyalty program market

Jan 2, 2015
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The Loyalty point market is massive and seems to show now signs of slowing.  With seemingly every type of merchant you can think of offering some form of Loyalty program, managing all these outstanding points and miles has become a daunting challenge for both program members and vendors alike.  There have been many solutions launched in recent years to help program members manage all this complexity, however, none of these have proven to be the ‘best-in-class’ solution that the industry is looking for.

Singapore-based Giift.com, started by French entrepreneurs Pascal Xatart, Laurent Xatart and Jean Herbière is looking to disrupt this increasingly complex sector by radically changing what we can do with all those unused miles and points we have.

I caught up with cofounder and CEO Pascal Xatart to get more background on the idea behind Giift, their vision and how they plan to upend the way millions manage and handle all their unused miles and points.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERATell me about Giift? 

Giift enables consumers (program members) to track their ‘Digital Wallet’, tracking their programs online as well as their balances in real-time (in points/miles and in equivalent Dollars), and to manage their ‘Monetization Wallet’, converting or exchanging their points/miles/gift cards for other programs and sharing those benefits/deals with others into the network.

We also enable brands and merchants to either promote their existing programs or to create their own programs via Giift (which manages and processes programs as well).  A current example is Michael Jordan’s Steak House which is leveraging Giift.com for its eGift Cards.

Everyday, Giift connects thousand of brands and million of program members.

What was the Idea behind Giift ?

Our idea was to create the largest network of loyalty programs (very much like the LinkedIn of Loyalty), and to build on top of this network the first real exchange platform for loyalty points and miles. Giift has evolved in two steps:

Step1 – Build a Loyalty Network tapping into the 1.4bn beneficiaries of Loyalty Programs:  Our objective has always been to create the first global Loyalty Program Network outside of Facebook or LinkedIn. This is why since its inception, Giift was created as a global network. We have reached our first goal and continue to keep increasing our network everyday, adding new programs and more program members.
Our target is to reach 25,000 programs and roughly 30m program members in 3 years.

Set 2 – Monetization:  We hail from the financial industry, where markets always try to monetize all sort of products (loans, securities, bonds….). So, we also wanted to enable monetization of loyalty programs’ value. We knew that the loyalty program market was growing rapidly, with 1.4bn beneficiaries and an underlying value of $900bn. Some conversion or exchanges between programs do exist, however the process to get them converted is still very premature.  So, our idea was to become the first exchange platform, where anyone could process their miles/points/gift cards for conversion or exchange as they would do on the financial market.

Thus far we’ve integrated into our data models all conversions and exchanges, and we’re testing our engines with the objective of launching this module at the end of Q1 15 with 1,500 exchanges. This is by far the most exciting part, as nobody has done it before.

The Loyalty market is not to be underestimated…we’re talking here about a $900bn market versus, for example, the Bitcoin market which is still only valued $30bn!

You obviously have a very strong position in Asia as well as the US. What do you think spurred your growth in those markets? What do you see as your opportunities in Europe?

We grew fast in North America and in Asia because of our ability to manage and track most of the major programs in those geographies. In addition, our approach is unique, as we enable users to not only upload miles or points, but also gift cards, memberships, rewards and coupons. So with Giift, consumers have it all in one single place.

We also already display all conversion or exchange capabilities, with the $ value of members’ programs. Giift is fundamentally helping consumers to better manage their programs prior to go shopping or booking a trip. The next step, developing a real exchange, will accelerate that reach.

As for Europe…it is definitely a huge market, and we already process most of major large European programs. We intend to enter the market with local operations in Q2 15.

What is your ultimate vision and goal for Giift? Are there any areas your looking to expand into (ie new services and functionality)?

Our vision is to become a global network of hundred of million of users, as well as a global exchange market where members know the monetary value of their points and can manage and exchange them; somewhat similar to “a second bank account”. So the idea is that you take both LinkedIn and Nasdaq, and you have Giift 2020!

With the increasing exchange value of programs, we also want to develop loans and cash facilities from your programs. For example, I have an equivalent $1,250 in my Giift Wallet, I go to my bank and I get a $1k cash facility.

The next step would be to create a global utility for all program issuers, the equivalent of SWIFT of the issuing of Loyalty Programs.

What’s the next big thing your planning on rolling out?

Q1 15 will be the global exchange module…this will be a game changer in the industry.