If you’re over twenty you will remember the thrill of receiving a gift voucher for Christmas. The voucher would probably be for a book shop or music store and tucked inside a card that had been sent by a distant relative.
The thoughts of these vouchers bring back memories of fresh new paperbacks and bands we’d listen to again and again however they don’t hold the same power in today’s consumer market.
Why Gift Vouchers are going Out of Fashion
Gift vouchers can now be printed off at the till, many look simply like a receipt that is then presented in a card. The appearance lacks quality and thought regardless of the amount of money spent and many are easily slipped into a pocket never to be seen again.
A gift voucher can also be quite embarrassing to spend for some people as they have to ensure the purchase meets or exceeds the value of the voucher before approaching the till. Only small change is offered, leaving the buyer or the recipient often out of pocket or leaving with an item they didn’t really want to buy. Along with this gift vouchers are quite fiddly to negotiate leaving the recipient with a tiny scrap of paper, while the shopkeeper remembers how to take the money off.
The Swamped Market
Gift Vouchers no longer have the same appeal as they did as people view them as low quality. The market has recently been flooded with discount vouchers and gift vouchers are now tarred with the same brush. With vouchers on the market such as Free 2 month subscription to LoveFilm or £10 off with your first spend, recipients cannot be sure that the voucher was actually bought as a gift or simply printed off the computer for free.
Why Gift Cards have Taken Over
Gift cards offer a solution to all of these problems and more. Not only do they please the consumer they also encourage customer loyalty which in turn brings extra business, here’s why:
The size, the strength and the likeness to a credit card means that gift cards fit easily into any wallet or purse in an instant. There’s no need to find an extra pocket to keep them safe and they often add a little colour to the card holder too.
Gift cards are basically debit cards. There is a certain amount of money on them and if you don’t spend it all it will remain until you decide to shop again. You don’t have to make irrational purchases and you don’t have to tot up the total just to ensure every penny is spent.
They are also easy to put through the till as they can be swiped using the barcode, as they look just like a credit card and people understand that they replace actual hard cash, there is no embarrassment when spending.
The Business Boost
Due to the nature of a gift card a recipient could choose to spend just £5 per week of their £50 gift card, which in turn increases customer loyalty. If not spent all at once, the customer builds up an affinity with the store and will continue to shop 9as long as they are pleased with the purchases) long after the money has run out.
If the customer loves your products and feels as though they are receiving a treat when they shop, they can choose to top up their gift card at every visit so they can save for a large purchase over time.
On top of this a gift card can hold clear information that boosts a brand as it displays a logo, location and website address so every time it is viewed, it is advertising your business to those in close proximity.
With these benefits it’s no wonder that gift cards are quickly replacing the voucher as the present we want to receive at Christmas from our distant relatives.
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