Reading an article this morning about gift cards and 5 reasons that restaurants should offer them – (Pizza Marketplace Article), which of course, got me to thinking about how this article could be skewed towards mobile gift cards.

1. Free marketing — yes, gift cards are free marketing.  That doesn’t excuse the fact that I have a paper gift certificate issued by Pottery Barn and gifted to me more than ten years ago — stuck on my fridge with a magnet.  It’s not for ten bucks either.  Maybe after all this time, PB has written it off in their accounting, but I think if I go into the store with it, they’ll have to honor it.  At least in California, where coupons can’t even properly be expired.   If it were on my phone, I’d have used it years ago, and they wouldn’t have the outstanding payable, and they’d have collected more than its worth from me at the register.

2.  Deepen loyalty — obviously the more often someone shops in your location or eats in your dining room, the more they tend to come back… creatures of habit that we humans are and will continue to be.  Put your message in front of me regularly – i.e. every time I go to use someone else’s pass in my digital wallet, and you’ll stay on my mind.  Give me some free stuff as a reward for eating there more often, well, the sky is the limit!

3.  Expectancy — I was golfing the other day and my partner’s college age daughter (who has just gone to freshman year) was calling up, asking for gift cards to this store and that store — not cash, not a check (although she did need a Paypal transfer to buy some jeans in a local shop), but gift cards to the major retailers in the area so she could shop without spending her cash.  People do expect every merchant to have gift card functionality.

4.  Expand your offer to suit your customers — if you want to run a lot of birthday themed gift cards, or holiday themed, or personalized one offs, expect to pay for it, and dearly, when dealing with plastic cards.  Unless you are BIG, in which case you probably don’t need my advice, you don’t really have the ability to diversify unless you’re willing to commit to large lots of printed goods.  How quaint… with a digital offering, your limitations on artwork and layout are only limited by your imagination and copyright laws, not to mention to you can create ONE offer if you want with specific artwork, not one thousand as a minimum.

5.  Enhanced Profit Margins – we talked about this in #1 – my redemption visit to PB likely means I’ll outspend my gift card by double or more.  I’m in the store buying because it’s free money that I’m spending, which puts me in a good mood and makes me inclined to spend more money, even though it’s not free and it is my own.  It’s like going to Vegas, hitting it big at the slots, and then losing your house playing blackjack.  It sounded good at the time.  Someone is going to cash in on this behavior, shouldn’t it be your business?

Think about it.  Get in touch.