The Candid Voice in Retail Technology: Objective Insights, Pragmatic Advice

Sneak Peak At Our Annual Gift Card Evaluation

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We evaluate retailers’ digital gift card offerings every year. I buy a digital gift card from 100 different online retailers (a list that evolves a little bit every year), and evaluate every part of the buying process.

The person I send each of those gift cards to? My partner Nikki, of course, upon which she evaluates every part of the recipient process. It’s something we’ve done 6 out of the past 7 years.

Why? Because gift cards are something customers increasingly desire – and purchase – for an ever-growing number of occasions.

Yet despite this fact, most retailers have never really loved gift cards. They have, in the past, been viewed as difficult to manage, leverage, and prioritize. As a result, the baseline finding of this report is that retailers are ignoring far too many opportunities for digital gift cards. And in the year 2016, this is nothing short of a mistake.

Gift cards are here to stay, and digital gift cards are an increasingly important component of gifting. They help retailers engage consumers by sharing or participating in a recipient’s brand passion. They are easy and convenient in an era when more and more consumers connect with each other digitally first. And if managed properly, they offer retailers a tremendous opportunity for otherwise difficult-to-attain cross-sells, upsells, and increased basket sizes.

Which raises the question: are retailers leveraging digital gift cards to their full potential? And why then – and exactly how – are so many of them dropping the ball on their digital gift card offerings? Our full findings will be available in just a few days, and we have to say: we think this year’s results are staggering.

To give quick hint, consider this: only 81 of the 100 top-performing brands we looked at offered a digital gift card option (a miss), and of those 81, 10 had processes so broken that we could not complete a transaction (a real miss). Even after multiple purchase tries.

This year’s report has a lot of information and suggestions for anyone who wants to up their gift card game. We’ll let you know as soon as it’s published.

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Newsletter Articles August 16, 2016
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