Small retailers probably are the biggest marketplace, right now, for the gift card market, says Brenda Gilpatrick, president of Your Fantastic Plastic, a company that helps retailers launch gift-card programs.
"If I were a small retailer wanting to launch a program," Gilpatrick says, "I would start with my own acquirer — the people who are already processing my credit card transactions." Many of them, she says, have separate little value-added gift-card programs that run through their existing system.
Once a retailer makes the call to a company that offers a gift-card program, Gilpatrick says, they just need to ask the right questions:
1. What´s included in the program?
2. What do I get when I pay you to handle my gift card program?
2. Does the system allow for a service fee to be charged?
3. Does the system allow for an expiration date to be tied to the card?
4. Can you custom-design my cards?
Most of these providers, Gilpatrick says, probably will charge small set-up fees, and they´ll more than likely ask retailers to pay for their cards in advance.
In your next episode of Retail Strategies, Gilpatrick offers hot tips on marketing gift cards.