Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP’s Retail, Franchising & Hospitality group
It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season is just around the corner. Soon customers will begin their hunt for the perfect holiday presents, and that means you should be thinking about gift cards now to get ready for the holiday rush. What’s different this year? You may want to consider implementing digital gift cards in advance of the holiday season.
This type of gift card also provides benefits for you and your business. With digital gift cards, you don’t have to invest in a physical inventory. You’re also collecting data about the people buying and receiving the cards, which you may not be able to collect via a physical purchase. You can then use that data to nurture your customers and encourage brand loyalty. If you’re looking to attract younger customers to your restaurant, offering digital gift cards will appeal to the early technology adopter mindset common to younger generations.
And digital gift cards aren’t just good for the holiday season. The rise of social media means that customers are always being notified of friends’ major life events, so why not give them the opportunity to buy a digital gift card through Facebook?
If you’re interested in offering digital gift cards to your customers, there are several ways to do this without breaking the bank. Many companies exist that offer easy ways to implement digital gift cards, and in many cases you don’t need to purchase any special equipment to redeem the cards. Instead, customers display an image of the card on a phone, and you key in the card code and expiration date, the same as you would manually input data from a traditional card. Or, if you are willing to invest, there are vendors that use near field communication to redeem the cards when a customer waves their mobile phone over a point of sale system.
Gift cards are big business for retailers, including restaurants. According to Forbes, retail purchases made with gift cards will top $200 billion in 2014, and a recent survey by the Retail Gift Card Association found that 45 percent of customers will spend more than the value of the gift card when they redeem. Offering digital gift cards this year will give your customers added convenience, while giving you more data and a bigger draw with younger, more tech-savvy crowds.
Get help understanding how to account for gift cards. Contact Sheldon Zimmerman at (404) 814-4958 or firstname.lastname@example.org.