What can’t gift card programs for retailers do? They’re portable money. They’re a great way to drive business. They also ensure that gift card recipients take a stop by your shop. Business owners everywhere know the value of gift cards but many of us have a difficult time introducing them to our business. Whether it’s because our POS systems can’t support them or because we just haven’t found the right moment, it’s easy to let gift cards fall by the wayside. Gift card programs for retailers are important to boost business, drive greater spend and ensure greater customer loyalty.
Mastering the Opportunities Presented by Gift Card Programs
The usefulness of gift cards is in the numbers. According to CardCash, 73% of holiday shoppers actively shopped for gift cards, purchasing an average of almost 3 gift cards per shopper. The digital gift card world is exploding, with 76% of all gift cards purchased over the past Christmas shopping season being digital. The digital gift card movement is being sparked by millennials, who purchase or receive twice as many e-gift cards than those over the age of 35.
These are important numbers to note when putting your own gift card program into place. Customers tend to spend more money in a store when they walk in with “free money” via a gift card. Also, the available customizations of plastic gift card designs mean that each and every physical gift card you sell gets your brand out into the world. This gives you another avenue for advertising and reaches a wider range of customers while opening up the opportunity to take your gift cards program into the digital world.
Don’t forget that digital gift cards are rapidly becoming the de facto retail standard, especially among younger shoppers. In order to keep your gift card program fresh, you will need to be involved in the digital space as well. Moving into the digital space presents you with what you need to seize growth opportunities. To take full advantage of these opportunities, you must understand that the key point behind selling gift cards is to make the process easy for both the customer and your staff. And this is all made easy by taking advantage of today’s next-gen technology offerings.
Take Full Advantage of the Technology Available in the Gift Card Space
In order to get the most out of gift card programs for retailers, you must leverage innovative technology to perform as must of the day-to-day management of it as possible. Many aspects of gift card programs for retailers, such as loading, re-loading, and reconciliation, can be painstaking and time-consuming to manage without the right solution in place on the back end. Having a dated solution will also reflect poorly on your brand while becoming difficult for your staff and customers. And while physical gift cards have been very productive, they bring with them limitations.
For example, have you ever stood in line at a Starbucks or similar franchise, rushing to get your morning cup of coffee, to find that the line is not moving? You glance towards the cash register and realize the person in front of the cashier is purchasing ten gift cards. The cashier must scan and activate each one before placing it in an individual gift card envelope. Meanwhile, the line continues to grow despite the handful of customers that vacate their spots to get to work on time. Lost sales and customer confidence are lost as a result of the one, single transaction the cashier had to process.
With a digital gift card offering, your customers can purchase gift cards via an app or website and send them to the digital wallets. Additionally, most digital gift cards can be printed or utilized in an email via a UPC code (Barnes and Noble’s free drink reward is a prime example of this method). Best of all, your customers can purchase your gift cards 24/7/365, making last minute gifts a snap while greatly increasing the convenience of frequenting your retail shop. This innovative level of technology creates an unlimited source of opportunities for your business to increase revenues even after you have turned off the lights for the night.
Seek Seamless Gift Card Integration to Your Business Processes
The value and opportunity presented to you by gift card programs for retailers can only be realized if they fluidly align with your business goals. This means that not only do your gift cards need to reflect your sales goals but must also be flexible and enticing to your customers. They should be able to reload their cards easily via an app, a website, or at your POS terminals without incurring any fees. Reloading a physical card, in the end, saves you money and reloading both physical and digital gift cards ensures that their retail dollars will be spent in your store.
Your POS solution should have sales data and inventory management reporting abilities to provide you with the information needed to determine which items are your top gift card sellers. This presents you with the opportunity to feature these items as promotional or discounted items to your gift card holders, as well as to pinpoint where the discounts to your frequent shoppers should be targeted.
For example, does your state have an escheatment law on the books that forces you to deactivate unused cards after a period of non-use? Does your current POS solution afford you the flexibility to deactivate a gift card, physical or digital, for your compliance with such a law? Can you cancel a gift card when a customer reports a gift card as lost or stolen? You must possess this ability within your POS system in order to retain the trust of your clientele while adhering to state and local laws.
Making the Wise Choice About Gift Card Programs for Retailers
In today’s fast-paced retail industry, it’s important to offer a flexible gift card solution to your clientele. You want to ensure that your POS solution can integrate with any loyalty rewards or gift card programs for retailers you offer, and having the mixture of physical and digital gift cards available for your customer base satisfies the expectations of a wide range of demographics while allowing you to take in revenue through online and app-based gift card sales during the hours where your physical store lights are dark.
Your POS system should have reporting in place so that you can quickly and easily address any potential fraud or misuse of gift cards, minimizing your liability. Your POS solution provider should have at most a flat monthly fee though some POS providers, like talech, does not take any percentage of gift card transactions nor does it charge a service fee for balance maintenance. With an innovative POS solution in place, you can easily manage your gift card programs for retailers at a minimal cost while having accurate reporting at your fingertips to track sales and identify cases of leakage.
Retaining an expert in POS and retail gift card programs is a priority if you want your program to get off the ground smoothly. With a wide range of customizable features and flexible hardware POS options, talech is here to help. We dive into all of your gif card program options with you to develop the best solution for your business and one your clientele will find engaging. Reach out to us today to sign up for a demo and to learn more about how talech can be your valued POS partner.