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Are Gift Cards For You? 3 Reasons To Add Them to Your Business

Aug 2, 2008
From start-ups to established businesses, the basic objectives are the same: more customers, more profits -- more. Growth is a simple aspiration with a thousand ways to get there and a myriad of services that have a strategy to help you. Finding the right solutions isn't easy. In fact, the journey can be disorienting. No one guaranteed the success you want would happen overnight.

One of the decisions you'll have to make is related to gift cards. Do you want them? Do you really need them? It can be a tough decision -- unless you're really interested in those "needle-movers" like more traffic, more loyal buyers, and more revenues.

For many types of businesses, gift cards have become a no-brainer. Most dining establishments, salons and day spas have all traded in their once-popular gift certificates for the plastic. They know the benefits of pre-selling themselves to their customer base and expanding to new clients. Today, more and more of the non-typical merchants are using gift card programs. From supermarkets to car dealerships to even pet-grooming services, the gift card has found itself as a successful business tool. Let's take a look at whether gift cards fit your business. Consider these three simple reasons why gift cards might actually work for you.

Your Customers Want Gift Cards

It's been a criticism that gift cards aren't a creative, unique gift ... yet, the growth of gift cards has been phenomenal. Consider that they are among the top three most-often-requested gifts. What does that mean for your business? Consumers are demanding them at record numbers, and that's where you want to be -- servicing that demand. The reason for growth is varied: they are convenient to purchase, simple to transfer and easy to give; they are a great way for a friend to introduce another friend to a great product or service that they enjoy; and, with more and more businesses offering gift cards, the available selection has, indeed, become more creative.

Image is Everything

A gift card program goes beyond the card itself. Your image and brand is reinforced to consumers in a variety of ways. A gift card becomes a pocket-sized, shiny billboard that promotes your image with class. Larger gift card manufactures can provide you with multiple design solutions -- from simple, standardized designs ready to be shipped to full-color designs that carry your logo, colors, brands and imagery. Along with the gift card, you also have a variety of methods to promote it. On-site merchandising tools can include custom card displays, card carriers and hangers, attention-grabbing posters and more. It's very simple to build an integrated gift card promotional campaign that not only markets your card, but reinforces your brand.

You Need the Revenue

You're probably like most of us in that you wouldn't mind building your customer base, driving more sales and more traffic. The great thing about a gift card program is that it positively impacts all of those areas of business growth. One gift card purchase will represent at least a couple visits to your establishment -- one trip to buy a card, and at least another to redeem it. And, often, those coming to redeem the card may be new to your business. And a share of them will like your business so much that not only will they, too, become loyal customers, but they also will start telling their friends about it. Gift cards have now helped increase your customer base and traffic. And all these consumers are coming to purchase something using their card, often something a little more expensive than they might have without the card.

Regardless of the type of program you offer, one key benefit applies to any gift card program. The day you begin to sell gift cards is the day you begin to gain additional revenues. Gift cards allow a customer to "pre-pay" you for products or services to be delivered later. That card may come back later today. It may come back next week or next month. Some will likely never come back. But you can count on that gift card purchase revenue sitting in your bank account. That's revenue you can use to help run your business now while you wait for a new customer later. That's a situation any business would envy, and a well-designed gift card program is a great way to get there.
About the Author
Al Duggan specializes in custom gift cards and is the Vice President of Business Development for Valutec Card Solutions, LLC, a Metavante (NYSE:MV) company, the nation's biggest provider of plastic gift card services to small businesses.
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