By Mike Fletcher, InComm Digital Solutions
Bulk purchases of gift cards from companies who plan to use them as customer promotions or as employee incentives can drive huge sales for retailers of all sizes. Not only do retailers see revenues from the original sale, but the promotional use of gift cards can also aid in customer acquisition. Customers who might not ordinarily shop with a particular retailer now have cash to spend there. The increased foot traffic means that retailers have an opportunity to convert first-time shoppers into regular customers.
Until recently, the process for managing corporate and promotional gift card sales was tedious and manual. Corporate customers needed to call or email retailers to place orders. Retailers had few options for managing orders and fulfillment other than Excel spreadsheets or their CRM system, which are not designed to handle the complexities and nuances of corporate gift card sales. Companies and retailers faced a huge financial risk by delivering cards that were pre-activated. Syncing both digital and physical cards into the same program required multiple disparate systems and companies needed IT resources to manage them all.
Fortunately, these tedious processes have gone the way of dial-up Internet. Now, companies can purchase gift cards just as easily as if they were completing a consumer-facing e-Commerce transaction. New B2B e-Commerce platforms offer a comprehensive self-service solution for retailers selling and managing corporate gift cards. It’s easy for corporate customers to select items and checkout, and for retailers to manage orders, even for complicated requests. Processing a combination of individual and bulk orders? No problem. Juggling special discount and pricing tiers? Can-do. Since the fulfillment process is so easy to manage, staff can devote more of their time to driving sales of cards instead of spending time on data entry.
Further, retailers leveraging e-Commerce platforms for B2B gift card sales that enable them to easily fulfill both digital and physical cards are in a better position to drive more sales. As online and mobile shopping grow, consumers are increasingly purchasing digital gift cards. What’s more, many companies run customer promotions via email, making digital gift cards a popular option in these campaigns. The rising demand for digital cards means that retailers who can offer and seamlessly fulfill both physical and digital gift cards are an attractive one-stop-shop for corporate customers.
Mike Fletcher is General Manager at InComm Digital Solutions, the team that provides digital and mobile e-gifting technologies for InComm. Prior to his role at InComm, Fletcher was co-Founder and CMO of Giftango. Giftango was a pioneer of digital gift cards and developed the industry leading digital gifting platform for the incentive, loyalty, reward and mobile application industries and served customers in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia. Giftango was acquired by InComm in December 2012, becoming the Digital Solutions team.