Tip #193 – Gift Cards and Certificates

Tip #193
Gift Cards and Certificates

We are all familiar with gift certificates.  We’ve either given them to someone or received them from someone.  They are most time printed on paper and, if from a small business or shop, usually hand-written.  Most of you probably carry them in your store.
A few of you might ever carry your own personalized store gift cards, with your name and logo on the card.   Gift card sales are expected to hit $200 Billion in 2014

Your own gift card is a very profitable item to sell.  Why?  Because not only does it potentially bring new customers into your store but also, according to the latest research, 8 to 10% of them are never used.  That is a huge number.  And that number is for Visa, Amex and big store gift cards which are a lot easier to redeem than your shop’s gift card.
Think about it, that means that if you sell $1000 worth of gift cards $80 to $100 go straight to your bottom line.  In my opinion, your own gift cards would have a much higher rate of non-redemption since they have to be used in person at  your store, which makes it kind of inconvenient for the recipient of the gift card.

Remember the early days of Dove and Mercury?  Some shrewd florists never used these electronic systems to send outgoing orders.  They would rather incur the expense of phoning them out (and some still do) in the hope that the filling florist would never report the transaction to the wire service.  Well, while that might no longer be as wide-spread as it was when most shops did not have POS systems,   I’ll bet that even shops with a fancy computer system still fail to report some of the phone-in orders

While the big profitability of phoning orders out might have mostly gone away, the profitability of selling gift cards that might never be claimed is definitely still here in a big way.  Remember that 8 to 10% goes directly to your bottom line, so you want to get in that action.
However, most florist have a difficult time selling gift cards and/or certificates to their own stores.  Why?  Precisely for the same reason you want to start selling those profitable gift cards.  Most consumers realize that a gift card that can only be used in person at your store is a lot harder to redeem than a Visa or Amex card that can be used anywhere, so normally they would opt to buy a Visa gift card over a gift card issued by and only redeemable in person at George’s Flowers and Gifts.

So how do you overcome this obvious obstacle of trying to sell a gift card that can only be used in person at your store?
flowerSoft has had the answer for several years now but only a few of you know about it and make use of it.
The answer is a “virtual” gift card.  A gift card that can be used by the recipient without the need to physically be in your store.  That should overcome one of the main objections consumers have about buying your own store’s gift card.

In the next post I will tell you how to sell and re-deem these electronic gift cards through flowerSoft’s point of sale program.

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