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gotalk signs exclusive phonecard supply/distribution deal with US Supermarket giant Safeway Inc subsidiary

  • 05 October, 2007 11:35

<p>Gotalk CEO Steve Picton believes his wholly owned subsidiary cardcall’s exclusive deal with US supermarket giant Safeway’s Blackhawk Network announced this week will dramatically boost his market leading $8 million a month share of the Australian and New Zealand phonecard market - take his overall telco sales past the $200 million mark – and strengthen his plan to steal a growing VoIP market share away from Skype.</p>
<p>Gift Card Malls - free standing “Store-on-a-Stand” kiosks - have become one of the fastest growing segments in the US retail market – and telco gift cards, music downloads, ringtones etc etc have become a multi million dollar part of this success. Individual store gift cards have been around for many years, however the latest “aggregated” kiosk concept, carrying cards from hundreds of different suppliers via up front distinctive display stands in grocery chains, mass market retailers, convenience stores, drugstores and specialty retailers has really taken off and is now a $200 BILLION annual business – and the concept is coming to Australia in time for Christmas – thanks to supermarket giant Safeway Inc subsidiary The Blackhawk Network. The exclusive deal with local telco/phone card company cardcall/gotalk is the first to be announced.</p>
<p>• cardcall – Australia’s largest phonecard company and wholly owned subsidiary of rapidly expanding telco gotalk limited – today announced an exclusive telecommunications supplier contract with U.S. gift card market leader Blackhawk Network, which is entering the $200 million plus Australian gift card market for the first time later this year. cardcall will also act as one of only two distribution partners for Blackhawk in Australia.</p>
<p>• Blackhawk, a subsidiary of US supermarket chain Safeway Inc, plans to launch their award winning ‘Gift Card Store-on-a-Stand” kiosk concept in hundreds of retail outlets around Australia later this year.</p>
<p>• The Blackhawk/cardcall deal follows the rapidly expanding telco gotalk’s purchase of Telstra’s international physical, electronic voucher and online calling cards last June, and the August 6 launch of prepaid VoIP phonecards as a direct challenge to Skype. cardcall has a 30,000 strong retailer network in Australia and New Zealand. The parent gotalk is headquartered in Sydney with its operations centre located at Varsity Lakes, Robina, on Queensland’s Gold Coast. The telco has established strong corporate partnerships with Harvey Norman, BP, Caltex, Woolworths, Coles, Domayne, Dick Smith, Tandy, Harris Technology and Australia Post.</p>
<p>According to recent US business/finance and retail trade press such as The Financial Times, Blackhawk’s prepaid Gift Card Stores have created “an entirely new multi million dollar category segment” in US retail. Blackhawk now sells cards to more than 165 million customers a week through gotalk/cardcall CEO Steve Picton said the deal with the Blackhawk Network offered “amazing growth possibilities on two fronts” for his company. “The first is obviously the expanded opportunities for new telco customers to purchase our extensive phonecards range in many new retail locations – with even more possibilities for impulse buying. The second is an entirely new revenue stream for cardcall as it becomes one of only two Blackhawk agent/distributors, responsible for selling in and maintaining the Blackhawk gift card solution into the Australian retail trade market,” he said.</p>
<p>cardcall will join an impressive list of major brand name partners who will offer prepaid gift cards on Blackhawk gift card stores in time for Christmas.</p>
<p>Steve Picton said the cardcall phonecard range on offer would include Daybreak, Say G'day, Oasis, Super Buzz, OZcall, gotalk, Hot, Happy Calling, SUPERSAVER, Call Mama, Shout, Talk Tomato, Ratesaver, and It's Green – a range which currently sells in excess of $8 million unique cards a month in Australia and New Zealand.</p>
<p>For the first time, prepaid calling cards can be safely displayed front of house, greatly increasing the visibility.</p>
<p>According to Blackhawk APAC Managing Director Stewart Rigby, while many retailers and other organisations have been selling their own gift cards for years, the unique Blackhawk aggregated solution opens them up with a completely new channel opportunity, in which hundreds of retail outlets across Australia will sell their gift cards.</p>
<p>“Major retailers will have their products and services available via ‘Gift Cards Stores’ – stand alone kiosks in thousands of retail sites across Australia. Customers may now buy retailers gift cards in a grocery store; or local newsagency – without the retailer having to carry stock or even give up floor space to display product they never envisaged they would ever sell,” Mr.Rigby said.</p>
<p>Headquartered in Pleasanton California, Blackhawk Network developed the Gift Card Mall (Store-on-a-Stand) Destination Concept which usually involves one permanent, distinctive, “front of house” in-store display stand or kiosk, large enough to carry hundreds of major third party branded cards in all the categories consumers want – gift, sports, telecom, open loop gift (cards that can be used at thousands of locations), theatre, movie, sporting, and event tickets and other reloadable products.</p>
<p>Described officially as “a prepaid and payments network, a market leader in card-based financial solutions” Blackhawk launched in the UK earlier this year and now plan to repeat their award winning concept in Australia.</p>
<p>“Prepaid gift card malls are all about offering consumers convenience and enhancing value to the one-stop shop," Mr. Rigby said. "It's rare these days that retailers can create an entirely new category segment in their stores let alone one that generates some excitement, but prepaid gift cards are doing that. Penetration is growing and we are anticipating tremendous growth in this area."</p>
<p>About gotalk</p>
<p>gotalk limited is an Australian owned, publicly unlisted, fast growing, full service telecommunications company with sales in excess of $165 million per annum and over 300 staff Australia wide. The company was established in 2000 and has grown steadily through acquiring other businesses and creating new and exciting cutting edge products.</p>
<p>gotalk continues to develop and deliver innovative products. For its prepaid services it uses a unique Universal Recharge account available to customers to better manage and share their spend across a range of prepaid mobile, internet, broadband voice (VoIP) and phonecard services all from the one account. gotalk’s range of postpaid products includes fixed line voice, mobile, broadband and dial up internet and broadband voice (VoIP).</p>
<p>gotalk provides a range of wholesale and retail telecommunication services through its own state of the art exchange switching centre in Sydney's Castlereagh Street, which handles over a billion international minutes per year - this equates to 20% of all Australian outbound international call traffic. One of the major strengths of gotalk is its ability to distribute products through its cardcall subsidiary, which has a 30,000 strong retailer network in Australia and New Zealand. gotalk has established strong corporate partnerships with Australia Post, Harvey Norman, BP, Caltex, Woolworths, Coles, Domayne, Dick Smith, Tandy and Harris Technology. gotalk has a large operations centre located at Varsity Lakes on Queensland's Gold Coast, while its corporate office is located in Sydney.</p>

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