Prezzee co-founder on how digital trends will change online retail
Marketing speaks with Claire Morris, co-founder of Prezzee, about creativity, the cashless economy, online security and strategies for the second half of 2017.
Australia’s largest digital gift card retailer allows customers to buy and send gift cards instantly, aiming to solve traditional pain points of paper or plastic vouchers. Its range enables users to purchase and send gift cards for some of Australia’s biggest retail brands, including Myer, David Jones, JB Hi-Fi, Target and Flight Centre.
Claire Morris and her Prezzee co-founder Matt Hoggett formed the business after previous work in far more creative roles. Morris’s CV includes working as art director at Marie Claire magazine, and Hoggett was a commercial photographer, shooting for David Jones, Sunbeam, Harvey Norman and more.
Marketing speaks with Morris about the state of the online retail industry, and the factors that will influence it, including the rise of the eWallet and a cashless economy, online retail security, strategy in the lead-up to the holiday gift season and Prezzee’s latest venture: Prezzee Business.
Marketing: A creative background is an interesting place to start for founders of an online retail brand.
Claire Morris: It is. We both understand the retail way of thinking. Having that editorial background in fashion was a really big plus. We’re working directly with Australia’s largest retailers. There’s a lot of synergy there. Having worked with some of those larger brands, it feels pretty natural and normal for us to step into that role.
Do you still use those creative skills regularly?
We do. We create all the content internally at Prezzee. Whether that’s a photoshoot or just creating some Facebook ads, we like to have creative control. The brand is a really big part of what Prezzee is.
In the very early days, when we were creating the look and feel of the app, that really came into play. We did that for about six months before we actually got the application built. It was really nice to have complete creative control. It did change, I think. We had the experience of an agency to help us with the actual UX, but it’s really nice to have creative control of your own brand from the early stages. That was pretty important for us.
Are we far off a cashless economy? How will the eWallet influence retail?
Five years will probably be the timeframe that I imagine things will be phased out into more of that digital space. We’re having to deal with changing consumer behaviour. This is a really big part of what Prezzee’s doing. We’re moving away from that traditional plastic gift card, and all the problems associated with those, into more of a digital currency, a digital realm.
On the back of that, eWallets are really, really important. Probably the most important benefit they have to consumers is the ease of always having your cash with you. I now use Apple Pay on my phone and I love it. I think – especially for the Millennials – it’s a really big thing. They’re using gift cards as budgeting tools. Especially if you have a gift card on your phone, it’s another form of currency. Keeping them in eWallets is just a really easy way of storing your cash, for lack of a better word.
For time-poor people, it’s just a great way to pull your money and spend it quickly (whether or not that’s a good thing!). The availability and ease will definitely going to see the rise of the eWallet.
Threat of malware attacks and other online security threats are hot issues right now. How well are Australian online retailers prepared? Are we taking it seriously enough?
I hope so. In general, it’s something to be concerned about. It really depends on how you’ve structured your business. From our point of view, we are 100% online. We’ve had to factor that in since before day one. We have five layers of fraud protection. We have a very, very low rate of fraud.
We’d hope any online retailers would take their security very seriously and have similar measures in place to make sure that anything that does get thrown at you, you can completely handle, and basically turn what could be an absolute disaster into something you can look back at and go, ‘Wow, I’m really glad we built this in that way, or scaled the system that way.’
It’s something people need to take very seriously and build into their business model.
How will social media influence retail in the next six to 12 months?
It’s going to be another big shift. I just went to the Rise conference in Hong Kong. That was a very big part of some of the conversations. They were talking about a lot of the larger retailers not using social media enough to talk to their customers and to re-engage with them.
Hence, they believe the prices of – say – Facebook, Instagram or Google Ads are very much undervalued. They see a rise in those rates over the next 12-24 months. Obviously, you need to take advantage of what’s available quickly before those rates do change. It will play quite a big role.
How big is the holiday gift spending season for you?
We’re very much thinking about it now. Typically we do 65% of our sales in the month of December. Last year, we really didn’t have a product that we launched at the very end of the year: our Business platform.
Prezzee Business allows us to be a digital distributor of gift cards all year round. In the consumer environment, distribution‘s very much driven by key gifting times. Christmas is one of the biggest. But in the corporate sector, corporations and businesses are using gift cards for recognition tools, acquisition tools, staff loyalty and engagement. There are a lot of different areas that we’re now playing in that we didn’t have in our previous year of business.
So it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out for us. It’ll still be really big, obviously in November and December in consumer and corporate markets.
Really, it’s turned out from being a very seasonal business, into an all-year-round business. We’ve had really strong sales since January this year, because of the business platform, the new platform. But, I still predict a big couple of months in November and December.
‘Avoid the Holiday Horror’
22 August, Sydney
James Walmsley joins Sophie Higgins, head of merchandise and marketing at Dymocks and Denise Wyer, head of sales APAC at AdRoll for our ‘Avoid the Holiday Horror’, our B2C marketing free breakfast event.
Find out how the best brands are preparing to not only survive but thrive in the lead-up to December. Our expert panel will discuss how top brands in retail, entertainment, travel and other industries are planning and executing strategies that’ll resonate with consumers during the most competitive time of the year.