MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Consumers love gift cards

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – Americans love giving and receiving gift cards. According to a survey of more than 1,100 U.S. consumers from the Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA), 77% of consumers have given a gift card in the past year and 90% have received at least one in the past year.

In addition, most consumers don’t require a sale or promotion to purchase a gift card and the number one reason shoppers like to give or receive gift cards is that they allow the end users to purchase what they want. Sixty-five percent of consumers prefer the convenience of gift cards when giving a gift from a group and74% of shoppers will wait for a sale or promotion before redeeming their cards. Other key findings include:

• Mobile and e-code gifts are still emerging: 54% of consumers have not heard of mobile gift cards or e-codes and only 17% of shoppers are “very comfortable” using them. However, 62% of the respondents who choose mobile/e-code gift cards do so when they need to get it there right away.

• Significant benefit to retailers: Gift cards get shoppers in the door to purchase more; 72% do some shopping for themselves when going to a store or website to purchase a gift card. Also, gift cards increase sales during redemption; 45% of shoppers will spend more than the value of the gift card when they redeem.

“Convenience and choice make gift cards extremely popular among consumers,” said Mary Donovan, executive director of the RGCA. “Although mobile gift cards and e-codes are not widely used by consumers, we anticipate that the adoption of these technologies will continue to rise into the future. From a business perspective, we are pleased to see the degree to which gift card sales deliver benefits to retailers: consumers report spending more when both purchasing and redeeming gift cards.”

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OPERATIONS

Report: Secret Service arrests Russian hacker

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Secret Service has reportedly arrested a Russian national for hacking into consumer credit card data between February 2009 and October 2011. According to Fox Business News, Roman Valerevich Seleznev, 45, was arrested July 5 for hacking into the networks of unspecified U.S. companies.

Seleznev is known as “Track2” on underground hacking sites and was indicted in 2011 on charges of hacking into POS systems of U.S. retailers. He is currently charged with five counts of bank fraud, eight counts of intentionally causing damage to a protected computer, eight counts of obtaining information from a protected computer, one count of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices, two counts of trafficking unauthorized access devices, and five counts of aggravated identity theft.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

HSN promotes marketing head to president

BY Dan Berthiaume

St. Petersburg, Fla. – HSN Inc. (HSNi) is promoting chief marketing officer Bill Brand to president of HSN, effective immediately. Brand will retain his role as chief marketing officer of HSNi and will continue to report directly to HSNi CEO Mindy Grossman.

Brand is also an executive officer of the company. As president, he will assume responsibility of merchandising, programming, planning and HSN2 in addition to his current responsibilities.

Brand joined HSN in 2006 as senior VP of programming. He took on on increased areas of responsibility, adding marketing and new business development followed by TV operations, creative and digital. In 2013, Brand was promoted to chief marketing and business development officer of HSNi.

Prior to joining HSN, Brand spent more than 10 years holding senior executive positions in programming with Lifetime and VH1. He is a member of the board of directors for the National Retail Federation Foundation and the GRMA advisory.

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