A brief history of Gift Cards
Whoever developed the idea of gift certificates was an advertising genius. The idea of taking someones money (which is valid anywhere) and giving them a certificate redeemable just at your restaurant was a pure stroke of brilliance. It made present giving easy and guaranteed the restaurant profits either through redeemed or dropped certificates.
The problem with paper present certificates was that they took time to issue, track and redeem. Usually, the certificates were kept in a secure place and access was restricted to only a very few. If a certification were sold, it took time in order to issue and interrupted the manager/owner to issue the certificate.
Monitoring the certificates, which were usually sequentially numbered was critical as present certificates could be stolen, forged then redeemed thus creating a loss instead of additional profits. It was because of these problems that many restaurants stayed away from gift certificates and thus missed out on some huge marketing opportunities.
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In recent years magnetic cards have taken the place of paper certificates. Balances were kept in a database, which were linked to the card via an amount in the magnetic stripe. Some credit card companies have jumped onto this bandwagon offering gift card programs that act similar to a credit card. The amounts are kept off site in the credit card processor. The processor after that charges a transaction fee to include to/redeem the gift card. This fee can run between dollar. 15 – $35 per swipe of the card. On small card transactions such as coffee houses these types of fees gouge deep into the earnings of the sale.
A newer trend would be to house the gift card balances at the store level. There is no deal fee and virtually no time lost processing the transaction outside of the store. Anywhere may be added to the balance of the cards, thereby making the card reusable and not disposable. Your logo is within the card, making it a constant reminder of your restaurant every time the customer looks within their wallet.
The Need for Gift Cards
Restaurants need the ability to securely sell, monitor and redeem gift card dealings without transaction fees. Balances should be kept in-house. The customer should be able to include in their balance at any time, making the particular gift card like your own personal debit card system.
The credit cards should be reusable and they should have your logo on them for a constant tip of your restaurant.
The Solution To Manage Gift Cards
Many point of purchase products now have optional gift cards modules that tracks numbered papers certificates as well as issue, tracks, redeem and reports on magnetic present cards. With the optional magnetic card reader and magnetic cards properly formatted for the software, you are able to make the most of this powerful marketing tool.
The present cards should have your logo on them for advertising purposes. They also may be packaged for a nicer gift presentation. A few companies have even worked out testing programs with other non-competitive companies to show gift cards at each others company.
The cards have no value till sold, thereby eliminating the problem of theft, forgery and redemption of stolen certificates.
The cards are usually reusable once fully redeemed. The client may also add to the balance, thus creating your very own debit card system with frequent diners being able to continue to use/reuse their card on future appointments. This have become huge in coffee shops where customers use their own cards on a daily basis to make purchases.
A few point of sale products keeps the balances at the store degree for single store operators. There is no need to process the gift cards outside the store as balances are adjusted up or down in late the transaction. There are no deal fees with this type of data storage.
For multiple store operators a couple of point of sale products are able to house gift card balances at a central location with every store accessing and updating gift cards balances through high-speed internet connections. Even though the balances are being kept off-site there are still no transaction fees with our program.
The Benefit of Gift Cards To You
The potential for huge profits, additional sales and repeat customers are the overwhelming great sell gift cards. Being able to white label the cards, add to balances and create your own debit card system create using magnetic cards for present cards essential to a profitable eating place operation.
Abandoned cards are also an enormous area of realized profits. When balances get below $1. 00 the device still recognizes them as energetic. However , customers tend to abandon their cards if the balances get below a certain amount. For some larger companies these types of abandoned balances along with lost credit cards equal millions of dollars per year in earnings.
DirecTouch Point of Sale furthermore allows you to set expiration dates on the cards issued. This helps create a sense of urgency for your customers to return to redeem the cards.
A few restaurateurs will use gift cards as enticements to get people to try their restaurant. Instead of writing on the back again of their business card the owner may put small balances ($5 or so) on cards and then distribute them to certain people to get them to test their restaurant. This is a great way to obtain people to come to your restaurant and even more secure than writing on the back of a business card.