Editor’s Note: This blog entry was originally published on October 10, 2018, and updated on October 20, 2020.
Despite a challenging year, surveys on consumer spending hint towards positive numbers for the 2020 holiday season. Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast estimates holiday retail sales will increase between 1% and 1.5% from 2019.
This forecast provides hope for merchants relying on the holiday boom to make up for a dismal year. Historically, the holiday season is a boost for small businesses, with 30% of annual sales happening year-end.
ISVs are able to provide value to their customers by offering gift card capabilities within their solution, allowing merchants the option to sell and process gift cards that, in turn, provide them with additional revenue potential this holiday season. Customers love receiving and giving gift cards, and there are numbers to prove it. In 2018, 60% of surveyed consumers requested gift cards during the holiday season. In 2019, estimates are that there was $368 billion worth of gift cards purchased.
When utilized correctly, gift cards help merchants increase brand awareness, engage customers, and encourage repeat business.
Benefits of Gift Cards for Small Businesses
Companies can boost profits by almost 50% by retaining just 5% of customers. Merchants that offer gift cards as a marketing tactic can nurture their existing customers while also helping them get new ones.
Gift card sales improve cash flow as customers pay upfront to redeem later, effectively locking in their funds to a business. It’s also common for customers to spend above the card’s value during redemption - some, up to 40% more. Additionally, when the cards are processed, there are no interchange costs, effectively reducing merchants’ credit card processing fees.
Plastic gift cards don’t need to be a single-use option, either. Since they are reloadable, it encourages customers to top up their balances and return in the future.
With mobile payments surging in recent months, customers may be looking for another alternative to physical gift cards - and digital gift cards answer this call. Merchants have the opportunity to tap into the power of social media by promoting their branded digital gift cards across their owned platforms.
Then there's the convenience of selling e-Gift cards: they are a contactless option that can be instantly emailed to recipients for online redemption or storage in a digital wallet for future use. A top choice for those who prefer to buy online than in-store, branded digital gift cards can be applied immediately to a customer’s online account as a credit, making the checkout experience hassle-free. They are also good options for last-minute shoppers, allowing businesses to continue making sales down to the wire.
Implementing a Gift Card Program
ISVs shouldn’t feel they have to wait until the next year to implement gift card functionality within their software solution. While September is an ideal time for rollout and promotion, there is still time in October and early November to implement a gift card system for small businesses.
Partnering with Global Payments Integrated means ISVs can connect their merchants with our gift card team. They are dedicated specialists who can assist with gift card design, employee training, and product support. It’s also worth noting that the gift cards issued through this program have built-in security features to help prevent fraudulent card activity.
Additionally, if merchants are looking to transition out of their legacy gift program, our specialists can also facilitate the program conversion with virtually no downtime.
Tracking Success with Gift Cards
To tie everything together, merchants will have access to reporting that allows them to track their gift card efforts after the holiday season and beyond.
When paired with the Customer Engagement Suite, this functionality can provide full visibility of essential data such as repeat customer analytics and customer intelligence. Access to these metrics allows merchants to segment their base better and send relevant communications to their most loyal fans.
Best of all, our solution offers a configurable platform, allowing merchants to build a program that can grow and adjust as their business needs change.
Make Embedded Commerce a Reality
Providing gift card programs as part of their payment offerings allows ISVs to be differentiators in their field. At Global Payments Integrated, we value our ISV partnerships and aim to provide solutions that benefit ISVs and delight their customers.
Contact sales to learn more about gift card programs and how to sell gift cards online for your customers.