David Derai, Treasury Director

Offering unforgettable gift experiences and innovative services

David Derai joined Smartbox when the company was just a start-up. Fast-forward ten years and the gift experience giant is now no. 1 in over 10 European countries. Here, David looks back, with pride, at the company’s rags-to-riches story.

What’s your story with Smartbox?

We just kept our foot firmly on the pedal, that’s how I like to sum it up! It’s quite straightforward; I joined the Group in March 2008, when the company was still a start-up and had been around in France for five years. At that time, our goal was to expand rapidly by first focussing on the European market. Obviously, the challenge wasn’t always a walk in the park. But ten years later, it’s a case of mission accomplished! We now trade in over ten European countries and we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved.

How has Ingenico ePayments helped you in your meteoric international expansion?

We couldn’t have done it without Ingenico as our partner. At all key stages, their dedicated team pointed us in the right direction, helping us to optimise our flows. Increasing the number of languages, currencies and payment methods we offer is something that comes to mind. Ingenico is also there to manage our peak periods, particularly at Christmas. And they always come up with good advice to improve our e-payment solution. In short, we forge ahead together, working to make the customer experience as easy and seamless as possible.

Why is an increased number of payment methods important to Smartbox?

To tell you the truth, it’s essential. In order to increase our conversion rates – regardless of the country where the transaction is made – the Internet user must be able to browse in a comfortable environment. In this respect, Ingenico helps us to understand payment practices which differ widely throughout the world. While the most popular payment method in the Netherlands is undoubtedly iDEAL, in France, Visa, Mastercard, American Express and PayPal are the most widely used. Then again, the ELV payment system is Germany’s favourite method. We can’t afford to overlook information like that.

How do you work with Ingenico on a day-to-day basis?

We get in touch whenever necessary and their teams are always extremely responsive. What’s driving us most at the moment is the fight against fraud. Thanks to their scalable platform, we can develop without any real limitations while maintaining a very low risk rate. The basic fraud detection module allows us to reduce the number of fraudulent transactions significantly, without compromising conversion rate.

How did Smartbox realise its digital transformation?

An innovative digital transformation strategy was implemented to support the development of the Smartbox product: originally a physical gift box comprising a gift certificate and a catalogue with the full selection of partners, the product has been redesigned in recent years in order to combine the gift experience with continually improving services.

The Smartbox Group now offers a real gift experience with the greatest number of experiences, exclusive services making our products really easy to use, and very careful attention to the quality of the experiences on offer.

Thanks to the digital transformation, a number of features are now available, including:

  • Real-time availability shown on our websites for all experiences, as well as immediate online booking
  • Quick, easy, free and unlimited online gift exchange, if recipients want to choose a different experience from the one they were given
  • Valid for three years with free and unlimited renewal for the same amount of time
  • And, most recently, the launch of the Smartbox app so you can view, select, book, exchange and pay for your experience straight from your phone.

At the same time, the Smartbox Group focuses constantly on product innovation, offering a range that is continually renewed and especially its virtual gift boxes sold exclusively on line. Today, we offer 7,000 digital products throughout Europe.

Gift experiences here

Gift experiences here

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