Gift card and prepaid solutions haven’t changed much in recent years. Justin Zeigler, Director of Product and Marketing, Datacap, says aside from the growth across multiple locations and channels so that consumers can purchase, reload, and redeem them, using these solutions has been the norm for large retailers. In 2020, however, Zeigler says, “COVID-19 forced small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to adapt quickly to an omnichannel gift strategy as a way to keep the revenue flowing during the shut-down.”
For value-added resellers (VARs) and managed services providers (MSPs) planning to provide prepaid solutions now, Zeigler offers this advice:
What does an omnichannel gift card or prepaid solution look like?
Zeigler: Gift card solutions are becoming omnichannel; it’s a progression that has only been accelerated by an immediate requirement for merchants to interact with their customer base during quarantines. As consumers begin to expect a connected and consistent experience for online and in-store gift purchase and redemption, assume that merchants will start requiring this functionality as part of systems upgrades going forward.
What are the benefits to VARs and MSPs offering gift card solutions integrated with loyalty?
Zeigler: The pandemic has elevated consumer expectations pertaining to omnichannel experiences from merchants, so the ability to load and redeem gift and loyalty both in-store and online becomes more important than ever. Also, merchants will expect to see their gift card reporting in the same place they view loyalty and standard payment reports.
How has the pandemic impacted consumer behaviors that involve gift cards?
Zeigler: One of the silver linings of the quarantine is that consumers have been forced to engage in alternative payments — including online ordering, buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS), text-to-pay, and QR-code-driven payments — in order to interact with their favorite merchants. These changes have accelerated the adoption of these frictionless, omnichannel payments solutions. Of course, this means that consumer expectations pertaining to omnichannel experiences from merchants have been elevated, so the ability to load and redeem gift and loyalty both in-store and online becomes more important than ever. Contemporary consumers now expect to be able to purchase, reload and redeem gift and loyalty cards both online and in-store.
What advice can you offer VARs and MSPs who will sell gift or prepaid card solutions?
Zeigler: There are three things:
- Talk with your vendors and understand the alternative payments options that are available to you now and what’s on the roadmap. Provide guidance based on merchant feedback and create a collaborative relationship to ensure you’re meeting your merchant clients’ needs.
- Take what you’ve learned from your vendor partners and reach out to your merchants to make proactive recommendations for solutions that you believe will positively impact their business. Once they have success with one value-added service, they’ll be more open to other suggestions in the future.
Be sure to offer value-added services to merchants that are SaaS-based. This turns would-be capital expenditures into operating expenses for the merchant and generates a forecastable recurring revenue stream for your business.