Interviews, insight & analysis on Ecommerce

How We Built It: James Malia of Prezzee

James Malia, UK MD of Prezzee, the Australian digital gifting platform that has expanded into the US and UK, tells us how they built their brand.

  • Give us the elevator pitch. Tell us about your brand.

Prezzee is a fintech company that is disrupting the gifting economy to create personal moments. 

Selling directly to consumers as well as businesses, we offer customers the choice of over 150 brands within one eGift card. What sets us apart is how we can connect people. We call this human interaction (Hi) and do this by creating moments of recognition; a personalised video message, photo or audio from one person to another. 

Our aim is to bring the joy of gifting back by helping remove the stress of ‘what to give’ and save the world of those unwanted gifts.

  • What inspired you to set up your company

While gift cards are often a desired gift – this story from CityAM puts them top of the Christmas wishlist for 2021 – plastic gift cards can too easily end up misplaced, forgotten on a shopping trip, or left in the bottom of someone’s bag. 

Prezzee was started because of this exact scenario. Founders Matt and Claire were out shopping in Australia one day and realised Matt had forgotten his gift cards, and without them physically there, he couldn’t spend them. And so Prezzee, the digital, multicard store was born. Prezzee cards are always with you because they’re on your phone: and when was the last time you left the house without it?

The environmental impact was also a huge driver for the founders. Plastic cards are bad for the planet; the majority end up in landfill, and CO2 is required to make them. Since Prezzee only uses digital cards, we’ve saved 324,729kg of CO2 and 79,202kg of PVC plastic by not manufacturing plastic cards.

When setting up the business, in order to stand out, they decided that Prezzee should offer personalisation in the form of video, audio and photos. All of this then feeds into the overarching aim: to rid the world of unwanted gifts while bringing Human Interaction to present-giving and reducing the reliance on plastic across the globe.

  • What was your biggest challenge in year one

There are challenges associated with getting any new business off the ground, and getting recognised was one of them. We’re very lucky to have a great team of board members who came from previous ventures, so their business acumen definitely helped us get out there.

Aside from getting on the map, it was difficult to influence people to change their views of gift cards as just being a last minute, impersonal gift. Some people have the impression that gift cards aren’t as good as physical gifts, so tackling these opinions and making people understand the magic of gifting has been a battle at times. However, having the option of personalisation has been instrumental in transforming people’s opinion of gift cards. While it’s simple and easy to do, creating a short video or sending a voice message makes the gift cards feel special, and the recipient will feel like the sender has made an effort.

  • What would you say has been your biggest marketing success

Winning ‘Best Customer Experience’ at the GCVA Awards 2021 was a big moment. The judges congratulated us on having outstanding customer service. As Prezzee is a brand that focuses on the human element of gifting, it was great to be recognised for something that’s at the heart of what we do, and something that all our team members are passionate about. 

  • What has been the biggest mistake you made

Not launching in the UK sooner. We have all been in need of connecting more than ever and Prezzee does just that. It is not about the gift amount, but the emotion and thought that goes into the experience. It is about lifting people, creating a smile, showing you care and are thinking about someone: whether it’s a friend, family member, or member of a team. 

  • Tell us about your plans for the future

Prezzee has been hugely successful in Australia – valued at A$1bn – and we also operate in the USA which has been an equally successful venture. Our next plan is to expand into Europe, and we’ve already picked the UK as our launchpad for this. I’m heading up the UK expansion, and we aim to double in size by 2022. Given that we’re on target to issue 20 million gift cards in 2021, it’s safe to say that it will be a busy time of growth for Prezzee!

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