Tim Kelly thinks his app Use It Don't Lose It could become so much more than the targeted reminder app it currently is, where users are notified when their gift cards are about to expire.
The free app has been coined as "saving shoppers thousands", but Kelly says it also holds "enormous potential" for retailers in the spheres of customer loyalty and cross-promotion.
"Use It Don't Lose It is capturing the data of a previously anonymous consumer group so they can now be advertised to," says Kelly.
"When a reminder comes that you have a month until the gift card expires, the gift card partner might also take the opportunity to offer you 10 per cent off when you come in.
"My view is that retailers should want customers in the door at almost any cost."
Kelly says once lodged in the Use It Don't Lose It system, customer details won't be passed on to retailers, owing to his app being developed from a consumer perspective after his own gift card was refused despite having just expired.
Australian consumer advocacy group CHOICE reveals this isn't an isolated occurrence, estimating that up to 30 per cent of gift cards expire before they can be used.
"I researched what protections consumers had when it came to gift cards and realised there is very little on that front," he says.
"So I decided if retailers weren't going to come to the party and treat gift cards like cash, I'd come up with an app that would take a proactive approach to tackling the issue and prevent consumers from getting a raw deal."
With more than $2.5 billion dollars' worth of gift cards purchased in Australia every year, Kelly says it's time retailers gave the matter more thought for the sake of increasing their returns in the competitive retail environment.
There are other platforms where you can trade, buy or sell gift cards, but not for their full rate, or to the benefit of both the customer and retailer.
"Retailers are basically being paid for nothing and to the detriment of their customers," says Kelly.
"It just seems so odd to me. Retailers are paying a fortune to develop their customer loyalty programs and yet they provide absolutely no value or good will to their customers when it comes to gift cards."
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