Convenience store operators can increase their digital gift card business — and stay relevant to the way consumers are purchasing gift products — with merchant branded digital gifts and cards that offer enhanced features.
Over the past 15 years, c-stores have utilized gift cards as a way to increase gasoline sales. Over the past five, however, many major regional chains have expanded their focus to include food and beverages.
Merchant branded cards and digital gifts have, for the most part, not yet reached their potential yield for retailers. Upgrading the consumer experience with best-in-class functionality and features can increase inside sales by an estimated 3% to 5%.
“In today’s environment you feel obligated to give a gift with sufficient dollar value for someone to purchase something without adding funds to buy a gift,” said Joe Randazza, founder of National Payment Card Association (NPCA) and CEO of iVertical Payment Network, a platform that offers 0% processing fees for merchant branded digital gifts for gas, in-store items and mobile debit acceptance for state lottery products. “By example, most people would not feel it was adequate to send a $10 or $25 gift card from Amazon.”
The first-generation gift card platforms in the c-store industry today does not have a user experience that competes with the features that Amazon has for gifts sent by email or text. These legacy platforms have not adapted to the way consumers purchase gifts or the user experience they are seeking, Randazza suggested.
When a shopper buys a gift card in a c-store the retailer may have no way to communicate with him. To build a merchant branded gift business, retailers require a platform that can create a user experience that induces consumer behavior to purchase and return to the store.
Merchants have vendor alternatives that can provide a next-generation platform and improved user experience; email notifications to remind consumers they have money available to spend in their store; and offers/couponing as part of their gift platform to drive instore traffic. They can also seek out vendors that will provide these platform services without any transaction fees, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars or more while building their gift business.