5 Gift Card Mistakes VARs and MSPs Should Avoid

Gift cards can be a significant revenue stream for your clients if they have the right technology to support their business goals.

The potential ROI of a gift card solution is undeniable. Gift cards are a popular choice for holiday giving year after year, which draws new customers to a merchant’s business, and they’re a great tool for building customer loyalty. Moreover, 59 percent of consumers say they usually spend more than the gift card’s value. Your clients, however, need the right gift card solution to help them reach their business goals. Avoid these five gift card mistakes when you talk strategy and implement or upgrade a solution for your clients.

Where Total Solution Provider Meets Trusted Advisor

It’s a smart strategy to provide all of the IT solutions and services your client needs, but that means you need to develop a clear picture of how they will all function together. Gift cards can be a beneficial part of your clients’ businesses if you integrate a feature-rich solution with their point of sale (POS) and other business systems. Meet the challenge of making your client’s business operate efficiently and effectively.

1. Assuming You Know How Your Client Plans to Use Gift Cards

A gift card solution allows a consumer to buy a gift card so a future purchase is funded. Beyond giving customers this convenience, your client may have other strategies in mind for a gift card solution investment. They may plan to use gift cards as loyalty rewards or issue gift cards instead of cash for returns to hold onto revenue. Gift cards could be part of promotions, such as spend $100 on Black Friday and receive a $10 gift card. The merchant may also plan to give gift cards to local organizations as a donation or to business partners as gifts.

Make sure the gift card solution you implement will give your client the freedom to use the solution however they plan to in a cost-effective and time-saving way.

2. Defaulting to a Free Gift Card Solution

Banks or other businesses whose core business isn’t retail or restaurant software may offer gift card solutions to their customers as a value-add to keep their business. Although this may be attractive to your client from a budget perspective — and make your job easier since payment terminal integration would be a given — these solutions usually have only basic gift card solution features. They may not give your client freedom for card design or provide them with reporting or marketing support. They may also not include eGift card or social media integration.

An add-on solution may be a good choice if it meets your client’s needs, but don’t default to one based solely on price or convenience.

3. Not Planning for Gift Cards During POS Implementation

A gift card solution shouldn’t be an afterthought. It’s a mistake to move forward with a POS and payments system without considering the gift card options your client needs — and find out later that the system limits gift card solution functionality.

Don’t lock your clients into minimal gift card solution choices with features that won’t allow them to create the customer experiences they envision.

4. Choosing a Solution that Doesn’t Integrate with Loyalty

Don’t create a data silo for your clients. Data from a gift card solution integrated with a loyalty rewards program can provide insights into customer behaviors and preferences and whether gift cards are drawing and retaining new business.  Also, gift cards as loyalty rewards are a great formula for engaging VIP customers and motivating them to make future purchases.

5. Not Planning an Exit Strategy

During gift card solution planning and implementation, the last thing you want to focus on is the possibility that someday the solution may not meet your client’s needs. But it’s essential to consider how difficult switching to a new solution could be. Your client will need to honor outstanding gift cards through and beyond the change — will their solution give them options for a smooth transition?