CHIPOTLE GIFT CARD Is Bound To Make An Impact In Your Business

Gift cards continue steadily to grow leaps and bounds allowing retailers that have implemented a program for his or her stores to reap vast benefits. Actually, total shelling out for gift cards in 2012 nearly reached $30 billion with around two-thirds of all American consumers having purchased at least one gift card.

It is mainstream and it’s really not for the Chipotle Gift Card Balance Check holiday season anymore. While nearly 2/3rds of all consumers have purchased gift cards for someone around the holidays, over 80% of all consumers have purchased a gift card as a birthday gift. No more should retailers simply rely on the holidays because of their sales – though sales at the moment are concentrated – the sales are available throughout the year.

Gift cards are convenient, secure, and become a branded “billboard in a wallet”. In multi-unit retail outlets, they keep the money within the store network sufficient reason for gift cards, retailers will gain more name recognition and exposure in the marketplace, further widening its existing customer base. To further the case, it’s not simply for the brand awareness, it adds to the top line as the average gift card user ends up spending an extra 20% beyond the value of the card.

Why Gift Cards? Some retailers may still use punch cards or paper certificates even though these programs may have advanced their loyalty program to date, plastic gift cards outsells paper certificates from 2 to 10 times just as much. The electronic concept is among the most medium of choice for retailers and merchants across the country. Among the significant reasons are:

No Cash Back – the worthiness remaining after partial redemption stays on the card ensuring additional opportunities to solidify the guest relationship.
REAL-TIME Processing – virtually eliminates both losses connected with paper gift certificates and costly tracking and accounting.
Offering a gift card is very similar to supplying a new product item – and never have to learn complicated handling procedures, training procedures, and tie up valuable space for storage. It will help gain clients – friends or associates of your existing customers – and the card program should be seen as a revenue generator.

Logistics: A processing terminal is needed to run the gift card program. Usually your charge card company can help you choose a terminal that will meet your needs and budget. Most gift cards use a host-based computer system to store the worthiness of the cards because they are sold and redeemed. Simply load and redeem the cards via a charge card terminal that accesses the host computer. This host-based system enables the gift card to be sold and redeemed at all participating locations (if applicable for multi-unit operations). Here is generally how it works:

Activation
Consumer purchases the gift card for any amount using cash or credit card – the clerk executes the sale via normal payment procedures on the register
Amount of the “gift value” is loaded and stored on the host database by swiping a magnetic strip card through a credit card terminal
Customer receipt shows balance on card – updated instantly
The card can be reloaded and may be used multiple times

Redemption
Swiped through credit card terminal for host authorization
No cash back – customer receipt shows real-time card balance
Pooling: For multi-unit operations, as your cards are redeemed within other participating stores and other stores’ cards are redeemed inside your store, the redemption amount is transferred at a specified time electronically. This is called pooling. All transactions are accounted for electronically in the database and activity reports. All pooling activity is documented, itemized by card having an overall summary and redemption amounts are transferred between locations via the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network from each location. The ACH network is the same system banks use to move money as regulated by the Federal Reserve. All activity is recorded electronically on the terminal and host computer as time passes and date stamp for audit purposes. A terminal gift card batch report itemizes transactions for reconciliation.
Marketing & Merchandising: With suggestive selling and merchandising, the gift card will generate additional revenue. The demand is strong year-round, especially at the various holiday times over summer and winter. Birthdays are the hottest reason to buy something special card – each day is someone’s birthday! Similar to activation, the cardholder can purchase additional value or “reload” the card for any amount at any participating location. That is ideal for regular guests. The gift card could also be used internally for credits. For instance, in lieu of cash back on a purchase return or perhaps a customer complaint, it is possible to issue a card for the worthiness of the credit. This keeps the purchase money in the retailers network.

Loyalty Programs: A loyalty card program uses exactly the same host-based computer system to store the value of the loyalty cards as the gift card. You can load and redeem the cards with a credit card terminal just like the gift card with the only real difference being that you could only add/redeem points to a loyalty card, not dollars. Similar to the gift card, the loyalty card earns points and is redeemable at all participating locations. An average loyalty program works something similar to this:

Enrollment – Consumer enrolls by completing a loyalty application.
Staff reviews for eligibility and ensures the loyalty card number is recorded on the application.
Consumers will earn X point per $ spent if they initially enroll and ongoing.