Breakthrough innovation is rarely one little thing. Its the result of many little things.
The CashStar team was excited to hop on a plane to Miami to spend quality time with clients and partners at our annual client conference, Blackhawk Network Innovate. This year was our biggest gathering to-date, with merchants from all over the country coming together to share ideas with their peers, learn about our partners’ offerings and contribute to the important conversations that will help advance gift card ecommerce.
The conversations began with a keynote address about innovation delivered by CashStar President and CEO Ben Kaplan. Ben stressed that innovation isn’t just about doing something differently, it’s about doing something better than everyone else. When CashStar was founded, we took a new, better approach to gifting in the digital, mobile age. With the first and only solution built from the ground up for digital gifting, innovation has been in our DNA since the company’s inception.
Importantly, as Ben noted, innovation is a partnership between us and our clients. Over the years, CashStar has collaborated with our customers to introduce many more firsts—from our promotional capabilities to customer engagement tools to on-demand distribution and activation modules.
Last year, we launched CashStar Social Engagement—another first—to enable brands to engage with shoppers securely through social media to reward loyalty, resolve customer issues, and to simply surprise and delight shoppers. And this year, Vice President of Product Gerry Gilbert highlighted and demoed our newest innovation, CashStar Product eGifting, which enables shoppers to send physical gifts digitally. In addition to ensuring gift recipients get exactly what they want, Product eGifting enables retailers to grow revenue and reduce costly product returns.
Throughout the conference, we heard from industry innovators large and small. During the mobile payments discussion led by Gerry Gilbert, executives from AliPay, Starbucks, Google, United and Samsung Pay shared how they are innovating to make mobile wallet adoption and mobile payments a reality. We heard about customer experience and engagement trends in mobile payments and how, someday (soon), shoppers will expect to use mobile to pay.
During an interactive discussion on gift card cybersecurity, panel moderator CashStar Vice President of Engineering and Solution Delivery Tim Brewer explored ways to be more proactive about data and systems security without detracting from the customer experience. Executives from the Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center (R-CISC), the Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA) and Toys “R” Us discussed innovative approaches to combat the increasing attacks occurring in the Card Not Present (CNP) ecosystem. The key takeaway? Innovation, as always, requires collaboration, and in the case of cybersecurity, sharing information about security threats is essential for effectively protecting your brand.
Throughout the general sessions, keynotes and breakouts, one thing was clear—innovation is a mindset. As a href=”https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/elonmusk656025.html” target=”_blank”>Elon Musk said, “A company is a group organized to create a product or service, and it is only as good as its people and how excited they are about creating.” We are thrilled about our team, our customers and our partners—and it was never more evident than at Innovate 2017. As we continue to work toward our vision of transforming the customer experience with prepaid technology across channels, devices and the entire customer lifecycle, we’ll continue to collaborate and innovate every step of the way.