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M-commerce gift cards for real world shopping unveiled

27 June 2013 - 12:31 by Paul Tissington

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The Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield has recently unveiled a new scheme that will combine real world retail with m-commerce, in a very unusual and exciting arrangement.

Virtual gift cards are being made available to shoppers so that they can buy items using their smartphones at over 250 of the bricks and mortar outlets within the centre, which is one of the largest venues of its kind in Europe.

Meadowhall managers realised that there could be a real opportunity to create this gift card system, when it became apparent that many visitors to the shopping centre were using their smartphones during their trip.

Free Wi-Fi networking already allows people to hook up their smart devices and almost two fifths of Meadowhall visitors were apparently engaging in this type of activity, according to The Star.

Spokesperson, Mark Bruce, explained that these m-commerce gift cards can be purchased from any location and then used in Meadowhall to pay for a wide variety of products, at hundreds of different retail outlets.

Mr Bruce said that it was important for bricks and mortar retailers to take advantage of m-commerce tools because it allows consumers to combine the convenience of safe shopping online with the immediacy of high street purchases.

This scheme is one of the first of its kind internationally and takes advantage of technology managed by American firm, StoreFinancial.

Hopefully, this type of m-commerce capability will become more widely available in the UK, because of course, the geographic location of stores is fairly irrelevant when it comes to using smartphones to access gift cards.

Millions of people already download voucher codes to their phones when carrying out safe shopping online so that they can be used at a high street outlet, so gift card capabilities seem like the obvious next step.