by William Ng | March 07, 2012

Digital gift card platform provider Giftango has scored a major coup by reaching a deal to handle the fulfillment of virtual gift cards in Canada for Aimia, one of the biggest incentive and loyalty houses in the industry. The Portland, OR-based company’s agreement with Aimia sets up the potential for expansion into the United States and other parts of the world, but for now, Giftango will give Aimia the ability to offer both emailed and mobile gift cards as corporate incentives north of the border.

Through Giftango’s platform, program participants will be able to redeem their points for gift cards from a number of Canadian merchants that are delivered to their smart phones or to their computers via email. They can redeem the virtual cards by presenting printouts or displaying them on their mobile devices at the retail point of sale. Giftango’s platform works invisibly behind Aimia’s systems.

The new partnership gives Aimia significant inroads into the budding B2B digital and, more importantly, mobile incentive markets, as the company and many of its competitors in the incentive and loyalty industry recognize the power of instantaneous ecards, not to mention their ability to track participant redemption and usage. For Giftango, Aimia represents its first B2B client in Canada.

“We are in talks with Aimia divisions in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, but we’re going to start in Canada,” says Michael Fletcher, chief marketing officer of the two-and-a-half-year-old company with about 40 loyalty and incentive supplier clients thus far. Fletcher says the incentive programs that Aimia administers in Canada are large and cut across varied industries.

They run the gamut from recognition to corporate wellness to sales incentives. According to Fletcher, Giftango is basically supplying digital redemption options to “all the Aimia programs that exist in plastic right now,” and he notes that a dozen Canadian merchants are aboard the Aimia launch.

“We’re going to move aggressively,” says Fletcher. “There are three other loyalty and incentive providers in Canada that we’re looking to work with.”

Along with running proprietary B2B incentive programs, Aimia in Canada is best known for the Aeroplan coalition loyalty program for consumers. Aeroplan has 75 partners representing 150 brands operating in Canada. In 2011, about 2.3 million rewards were issued to members of the loyalty program, including more than 1.5 million flights on Air Canada and Star Alliance carriers. Members have access to more than 1,000 specialty, merchandise, travel, and experiential rewards.

Giftango’s overall merchant roster, in the meantime, has surpassed 125, including recent additions Groupon, SpaFinder, Nike, Cabela's, and Lowe's. The list is made up of a mix that partners with Giftango for egift cards and mobile incentives in both the B2B and B2C spaces.