In 2007, Stephen Prince, owner of National Business Products, a supplier of print marketing materials to businesses across the United States, formed a new entity, Sterling Card Solutions, which is now branded Card Market. Increasing demand for gift card programs among POS and payment processing partners led Prince to discontinue third-party gift card printing and develop an in-house facility. Card Market's Nolensville, Tenn., headquarters includes a 27,000 square foot, 100 percent geothermal heated and cooled building to house its card printing operation.
Card Market said it streamlines gift card sales and marketing, from printing and promotion to order fulfillment and reporting. Participating merchants can choose from a collection of pre-designed gift cards, upload their own designs or let the Card Market team design a custom gift card for their businesses. The available array of digital and physical point-of-purchase tools can help drive gift card awareness and further incentivize customers, the company stated.
Mark Miller, vice president, sales and marketing at Card Market, summarized the company's core values as follows:
"Card Market's mission is to help our partners increase their recurring revenue by providing gift cards and related marketing products to merchants through superior technology, execution and partnerships," Miller said, adding that Card Market has designed its printing processes and technology to serve small and midsize businesses.
Noting that Card Market technology is proprietary and is developed in-house, Miller said the technology adds value to partners' platforms and simplifies operations. Through Card Foundry, merchants are enabled to sell gift cards online; franchisors can manage card inventory and release products as needed; and partners can order, design, and manage their customer accounts. Miller credited Card Market's unique technological approach, fast turnaround times and dedication to conducting business exclusively through referral partners, for driving consistent year-over-year growth since the company's inception.
Card Market employs approximately 60 staff members led by Justin Hastings, president and a leadership team that, in addition to Miller, includes Angela Votta, vice president, customer care; Lisa Hennis, vice president, accounting; and Kelly Sutherland, vice president, operations. Significant company milestones include the January 2013 release of Card Market Pro, a rebranded version of its former Retail Fulfillment product. It is designed to enable merchants to sell their gift cards online from their own websites, with Card Market managing personalization, activation and shipping of the cards.
In 2020, Card Market also rebranded Sterling Card Solutions and Card Marketing Services, consolidating them into the Card Market brand. This was followed by the 2021 acquisition of Valerian Technologies, which added Valerian's suite of products to Card Market's technology stack and brand.
With gift card printing and serial encoding at the core of its business, Card Market also prints membership, loyalty, ID and various other types of plastic cards in any shape and size, the company stated, adding that its extensive online fulfillment services enable merchants to sell their gift cards online and distribute bulk cards as needed. These ancillary services have become an increasingly important component of Card Market's product offerings.
Miller additionally noted that Card Market works with a range of sales channel partners and distributors, creating new revenue streams through referral programs and adding value to existing gift card platforms with its online card fulfillment services. API integrations streamline the card ordering process, Miller stated, while removing service requirements such as artwork design for partners who do not want to worry about the details of gift card ordering. As he looked ahead to Card Market's near-term product road map, Miller cited enhancing online services for bulk ordering, increased partner communication and support, and merchant online card sales as top priorities.
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