Gift card system tips
Keep designs basic. Novelty gift cards can certainly turn a few heads and look great on display. You can order cards with die-cut shapes and sizes as well as battery-operated versions that play music and display flashing lights. However, these cards can be difficult to carry around in a pocket or wallet. So it’s best to offer a colorful, eye-catching design that conforms to the dimensions of a standard-sized credit card.
Branch out. You’re not limited to selling gift cards at the point of sale or even in your own stores. You can offer commissions to outside businesses, including local grocery chains and drugstores, to display and sell your gift cards in their locations. While you pay a bit more out of pocket to give them the ability to activate your gift cards, you can dramatically increase your presence without taking up valuable retail space.
No expiration date. While it may cause accounting headaches, resist placing expiration dates on your gift cards. Not only will some customers hesitate to pay for value on a card that can be taken away, but the Credit CARD Act of 2009 actually makes it illegal in most states, prohibiting gift cards from expiring before five years from the date of purchase or when last reloaded and further prohibiting fees within the first 12 months of issue, whether they’re store-issued or bank-issued gift cards. See this list of specific state limitations.
Virtual cards. Online retailers can still offer gift cards. Rather than a physical card, you sell “online certificates,” also known as redemption codes, which can be redeemed for goods and services sold exclusively online. However, it’s to your advantage to develop actual gift cards to mail customers after the sale. It’s a strong marketing tool that reminds them to do future business with you.
Remember the faithful. One benefit to a loyalty program is to find ways to reward existing customers while recruiting new ones. If you have dedicated customers, they’re going to shop with you no matter what. But you can’t slight them in favor of winning new business. By rewarding incremental behavior, you can thank your loyal regulars for their continued patronage while offering incentives to new clients to keep coming back. Providing a percentage of cash back on each purchase is one method of reward that has gained in popularity, with retailers mailing out rewards coupons either quarterly or on a similar schedule. This cash-back incentive tallies all dollars earned that can then be applied to future purchases.