Kroger accelerates the growth of corporate gift cards

A leading grocer expands its B2B gift card offering with a new partnership.

The Kroger Co. partners with payments provider Blackhawk Network to offer bulk prepaid Mastercard and Visa cards through Blackhawk’s SaaS-based Velocity B2B end-to-end gift card services. Kroger wants this additional offering to support its growth in business-to-business gift cards by providing companies with a way to reward or incentivize employees, as well as help those in need.

Kroger Prepaid Mastercard and Visa cards can be used where Mastercard and Visa are accepted, in-store or online. Once an organization is approved, available gift card denominations range from $20 to $500 and can be delivered to recipients when and how they want, anywhere in the United States.

“With the overall growth in demand for gift cards over the past year, the business-to-business gift card market represents a tremendous growth opportunity for our business, and we are always looking for new ways to improve our offerings,” Kate said. Ward, President, Kroger Personal Finance. “By adding Mastercard and Visa prepaid cards to our corporate gift card program, we’ve been able to offer more choice to our existing business-to-business partners while expanding our ability to sell to other customers, including including more charity partners looking to our bulk gift card offers for an easy way to make a big impact.

“While the B2B gift card market in the United States is already estimated at nearly $30 billion1, there is no doubt that there is still a lot to do,” said Tom Boucher, Head of Velocity B2B, Blackhawk Network. “As more companies switch from physical gifts to gift cards for promotions, rewards, incentives and even charitable distributions, a growing number of organizations will look to focus more on capturing a largest part of the rewards and incentives gift card space.With our comprehensive, end-to-end gift card solutions for business shoppers, we help merchants like Kroger stay ahead of the curve.

Corporate gifts are becoming big business. For example, specialty gift retailer 1-800-Flowers.com recently launched a new business-to-business gifting solution called Hero, based on technology from SmartGift. Hero, a smart engagement and corporate gifting platform designed, developed and operated by SmartGift, is now integrated with the 1-800-Flowers.com corporate gifting website.

Hero includes access to thousands of differentiated gift options across the assortment of 1-800-Flowers.com brands. The solution also provides features such as same-day delivery and unaddressed shipping capabilities, customization offers, and premium service.

Kroger Visa and Mastercard business-to-business gift cards provided by Blackhawk Velocity B2B are issued by the US Bank National Association pursuant to license from Visa USA Inc. or by Mastercard International. There is no cash access and cards can only be used in the United States, subject to applicable terms and fees.

Kroger employs nearly half a million associates and operates nearly 2,800 stores under various banners, including Kroger, Ralphs, Dillons, Smith’s, King Soopers, Floors 4 Less, Fry’s, Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer and others .

Blackhawk Network offers branded payment solutions through its prepaid products, technologies and network.

Michael N. Clark