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Retailers Greasing the Skids for Gift Cards

But study shows more effort still needed to make process seamless for consumers




Tomasz Śmigla/iStock

Retailers are evolving and innovating on ways to sell, use or deliver gift cards, as both consumer demand and the number of gift card uses continue to rise. But there are still many untapped or underutilized opportunities to score added revenue in this arena.

Those are among the major conclusions of a new report commissioned by Blackhawk Network (BHN), a global branded payments firm, and conducted by NAPCO Research.

Now in its sixth consecutive year, the “2023 Merchant Gift Card Omnicommerce Evaluation – US Edition” examines the gift card programs of more than 100 top U.S. retailers—identifying emerging industry trends, areas of opportunity and actionable best practices for retailers looking to optimize their omnicommerce gift card and payment programs.

For the total scores, retailers have recorded growth in each leg of the assessment every year. The verticals with the most opportunities for improvement last year—health and beauty and casual restaurant dining—were among the industries that showed the most improvement in the 2023 assessment.

“Gift cards provide strong ROI for retailers both online and when it comes to sales-per-square-foot ratio in-store. But continuously embracing innovation is key in evolving and growing omnicommerce gift card programs to meet consumers’ increasingly high expectations,” said Jay Jaffin, BHN’s Chief Marketing Officer. “The improvements retailers have shown across the board in this year’s report demonstrate that brands and retailers have begun to effectively utilize and account for the multiple use cases for gift cards throughout the customer lifecycle.

Jaffin noted that two-thirds of evaluated retailers in this year’s assessment displayed innovative ways to sell, use or deliver gift cards, which is up from just 15 percent last year. “Shifts like that are making it easier for consumers to buy and spend gift cards where and how they want to use them for everything from gifting and self-use to promotions, refund disbursements and credits,” he said.


Click here for more results from the survey.


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