Gift cards, sans plastic
New e-gift card business could take the worry out of gift-giving
Marina Banar and her father Andrey Agapov have started, ItsOnMe, a local gift card business. Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »
GREENFIELD — If you are looking for the perfect gift for someone and happen to know where they shop, but not what they like, e-gifting may be the way to go.
Father-daughter team Andrey Agapov and Marina Banar said they have started a business that will satisfy everyone’s gift-giving needs.
ItsOnMe, the “e-gift card gathering place,” is offering local businesses like Magical Child, Baker Office Supply, Village Pizza, and Replay, all in Greenfield, an online gifting platform, and Agapov and Banar are doing all the work.
People will be able to go online and purchase gifts for others at these stores and more, said Banar, who does the sales and marketing for the new local business.
“We do all of the gift card designing, processing and tracking,” said Banar. “Our company helps businesses offer their customers a virtual approach to gift giving.”
Banar said users can send an e-gift card to friends, family, relatives and others through an online transaction — there’s no plastic card involved.
A virtual gift card is automatically sent to the recipient through email or a mobile device and that person can then print the card or bring their mobile device to the store and use it.
She said several local businesses have become merchant partners with ItsOnMe and more have expressed interest.
Customers can either choose a pre-designed gift card or submit a photo or video of their own to be used, said Banar.
Personal messages can also be sent to recipients via email or text message.
“After someone orders an e-gift card and payment has cleared, the card gets to the recipient within minutes,” said Banar.
She said technicians work with each merchant partner to set up the necessary software for a seamless process of transactions.
“This is a great way for businesses to reach out to customers, even when their doors aren’t open,” said Banar. “This allows local businesses to serve a broader market.”
Banar said when a business offers e-gift cards, it stays on top of its competition, offers more buying choices, reaches a wider consumer audience and increases its sales.
She said there is no startup or monthly fee passed on to merchant partners.
“We take a percentage of their e-gift card sales, which is discussed before they sign on,” said Banar.
She said it also makes it easy for people living outside of Massachusetts or Franklin County to buy for friends and relatives. She said it takes the worry out of being late with a gift because it takes only minutes to purchase an e-gift card and have it delivered.
“So even if you forget someone’s birthday, they never have to know,” said Banar.
“A buyer can be in Boston, go online, and their cousin in Greenfield receives an e-gift card within minutes,” she said.
Banar said many consumers are moving in the direction of purchasing online gift cards.
“Everyone is busy, so this is a great solution to gift purchasing and giving,” she said.
“There’s no cost to use an e-gift card and there’s no plastic to throw away, so it’s good for the environment,” said Banar.
She said she and her father are starting with local businesses and plan to eventually branch out.
Banar said seven merchants from Franklin and Hampshire counties have signed on so far.
“It was my dad’s idea,” she said. “He thought about it in the early 2000s, but the technology wasn’t there yet.”
She said they have spent two years testing everything and building their technical team, so everything is running smooth. She said they have a team of technicians and another marketer.
Banar said they’d like to continue growing the business, so are always looking for investors.
She said ItsOnMe uses secure Web hosting and PayPal for payments.
“This gives businesses and gift-givers a little less to worry about,” said Banar.
For more information, call Banar at 413-512-1293 or email her at: email@example.com. For general inquiries, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.