E-business has proved to be the right currency for a Birmingham company after it clinched a series of orders across the UK.
Secure Vouchers was launched in 2007 by a printing firm already established in the area, offering small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to issue vouchers that were a step up from run-of-the-mill tokens.
They all contain security features required to prevent fraudulent use, such as holographic foil, watermarked paper, and specialist security inks. The brand found it difficult to gain awareness in the early days but after launching its website www.securevouchers.co.uk and optimising it for major search engines such as Google and Yahoo!, the orders started to roll in.
Now, almost all of the business is generated via the web, with enquiries coming in from across the country – as well as internationally.
Marketing manager Michael Kelly said: “We are getting enquiries from all over the UK on a daily basis and have just completed a contract for a customer who found us on the web for one million vouchers.
“We have just started to offer bespoke carrier cards to accompany the vouchers, and these are proving to be very popular, as they add to the professional feel of the vouchers themselves.
“Using the web in this way has cut down massively on our set-up and marketing costs and has given us the chance to sell ourselves to the world on a relatively small budget.”
The success so far is also down to the wide appeal of Secure Vouchers, which allows customers to produce personalised gift vouchers that can rival big high street chains but enable them to print runs of as few as 200.
“They can be used like ordinary gift vouchers where people purchase them from shops as presents for friends or relatives,” he said. “But a retailer, a salon or a service provider, say, could order a small run and use them as promotional material to attract new customers and retain existing ones.”
Liz Rowe, of the National B2B Centre – the e-business centre of excellence for the West Midlands – said: “To come from almost nothing to having a successful brand says a great deal about the power of the world wide web. It has opened a new door for small to medium-sized businesses to allow them to compete.
“Secure Vouchers are a great example of how you can be a big success if you make the most of search engines. And then, once they are on your site, you make it as simple as possible for customers to understand and buy your product.”
The National B2B Centre is part of WMG at the University of Warwick.