Gift card software and systems basics
A typical gift card system includes a supply of cards, software, and a display for your cards at the point of sale. These systems use special gift card software to track issued gift cards, installed remotely on your existing credit card terminal, POS system, or desktop PC.
Once a customer selects a gift card with a fixed dollar value or decides how much the card will be worth at the time of purchase, you activate the card by swiping it through a credit card terminal or PC. The card recipient can then return to the store at any time to use the value on the card with the buyer’s purchases tracked in real-time through a central database. This system is far preferable to the old-style gift certificates as your business retains the full value of the gift if the value of the card is larger than the purchase total. In addition to paying for the card itself, you may have to pay the gift card vendor a small fee each time you activate a new account, and in some cases whenever a customer uses it.
Reporting is an essential component of any gift card system. With it, you can find out exactly who your customers are and what they’re buying. The gift card software generates monthly reports and in many cases will provide a continuous stream of real-time data detailing buyer demographics, purchasing statistics, shopping patterns, and total transactions for all your active cards. Armed with this information, you can gauge consumer interest in certain products and measure the success of your gift card program.
As part of your gift card system, you also get access to customer service personnel via phone or Web for account questions and issues as well as gift card software updates when available. Vendors may supply you with an array of other marketing items to promote your program throughout your location.