A Simon Fraser University student is finding success with a new wrinkle on the gift card idea — forget the card, but keep the gift.
That’s the concept behind Buyatab.com, an online service that lets you send gift certificates via smartphone or social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or email or SMS messaging. Buyatab.com was co-founded by Matias Marquez, now a fourth-year student at SFU, and participant in SFU’s Venture Connection program.
Almost 300 companies have signed on to Buyatab.com to let customers use the service to send their gift certfificates, mostly restaurants, bars and day spas. Most prominently, Cactus Club has signed up, motivated by Buyatab.com’s integration with sales software provider Squirrel Systems.
"It’s clear to us that instant gift giving through services like Buyatab.com is the future of gift cards and will enhance our guest experience,” says Christy Murphy, director of marketing for Cactus Club Restaurants.
For the staff of Cactus Club Cafe their new instant gift card process is seamless. Buyatab.com boasts a certified integration to Squirrel Systems, the restaurant’s point of sale software provider.
Mike Devine, Squirrel Systems vice president of marketing & channel sales adds, “Buyatab.com’s advanced integration to Squirrel’s restaurant POS software allows Cactus Club Cafe to use the latest in digital gift card technology without any major change to their operations since the digital cards are treated just like any gift or credit card.”
It’s a great idea; no chance of losing your gift card and no waste from used up pieces of plastic are both improvements over the gift cards we use today. If more merchants get on board, this could be a great way to shop at home.
On the other hand, I have something of a beef with people who give restaurant gift cards out as presents. It’s like they’re saying, “I like you enough to buy you dinner, but not enough to eat it with you.” Oh well, maybe that’s just me.