Value-added resellers (VARs) and managed services providers (MSPs) in the point of sale (POS) space are always looking for ways to deliver more value to their clients. If you currently offer a stand-alone gift card solution, one step you can take today to improve your clients’ operations, the customer experiences they offer—and the value your clients perceive in partnering with your business—is to integrate gift cards with their POS and payment systems.
Justin Zeigler, Product Strategy/Marketing for Datacap Systems, comments, “There is no reason that a VAR shouldn’t be selling gift cards to every single prospect.” He says gift cards increase brand awareness for the merchant, generate upfront revenue for goods/services yet to be rendered (or that may never be rendered) and help drive sales and marketing efforts.
“Most merchants will see the value and jump at the opportunity,” says Zeigler. “If a VAR isn’t selling gift cards and other impactful services to their merchants, the door is left a little further open for a competitive entity to come in with a more integrated and feature-packed solution.”
Integrated Gift Card Solutions Elevate Merchants to a Higher Playing Field
Although offering gift cards is beneficial to virtually any merchant, Zeigler explains that an integrated gift card solution also provides them with operational efficiencies and enhances customer experiences. Integrated gift card solutions:
- Consolidate reporting and simplify end-of-day procedures
POS solutions providers understand and can communicate the value of integrated payments, including automatically sharing payment data with the POS and accounting systems. It streamlines processes and reduces the chances of errors.
It makes little sense to complicate processes by handling gift card payments separately. “A modern merchant will expect to see their gift card reporting in the same place they view their standard payment reports,” Zeigler comments.
- Enable gift card payments across channels
The gift card solutions you provide your clients should enable consumers to load and redeem gift cards in brick-and-mortar stores and when engaging on digital channels.
“Contemporary consumers are engaging online with merchants more so than ever before and a merchant without an online, integrated payments presence — including gift — is going to struggle to compete with competitors that are engaging with smartphone-addicted consumers via omnichannel strategies,” says Zeigler.
Considering that merchants are continually competing for their customers’ business and their loyalty—and they’re now beginning recovery after shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic—they won’t tolerate inefficient internal processes or settling for clunky gift card purchase or redemption experiences.
“A non-integrated, stand-alone gift card solution will solve for none of these issues and will have the merchant looking for an alternative in the short-term,” Zeigler says.
Don’t Stop at Gift Cards
He adds, “Gift cards can certainly be part of a VAR’s growth strategy, but shouldn’t be the extent of it. VARs should spend time with their vendor partners to understand all that’s available to them from a product integration standpoint and use that as a starting point to build a menu of solutions that can positively impact their merchant partners while simultaneously generating new revenue for the VAR.”
The total, integrated solution you offer can include:
- Customer relationship management
- Online ordering and delivery
- Mobile payments
- Website design
- Real-time customer feedback surveys
- Networking support and PCI consulting
- Marketing services
Each can be integrated with a gift card solution, which will streamline processes and give merchants the flexibility to create customer experiences leveraging gift cards. Integration with other systems can also help reduce the chance of fraud and aggregate data that the merchant can use to personalize service and make informed business decisions.
Grow By Meeting Your Client Expectations
Zeigler comments that your clients aren’t looking for disparate solutions from you. “A significant driver of using a VAR for gift card solution implementation and consulting is that the end result is an integrated solution that provides the merchant with consolidated reporting, simplified end of day procedures and a market-viable gift solution that works across channels,” he says.
For your business, providing a fully integrated system that allows all features to seamlessly work together will help to position you as a trusted advisor the merchant will want to continue to work with. “Of course, as the merchant adopts more third-party solutions from the VAR, the merchant relationship becomes that much stickier, fostering long-term SaaS-focused affiliations,” Zeigler says.
And the strong relationships you build, ultimately, will contribute to a growing business “Testimonials and case studies from enthusiastic merchants help the VAR sell similar services to other prospects—again leading to larger monthly payments over longer periods of time across a growing base of merchants,” he says.