Closing the ‘gift card gap’: Unlock the power of data

An efficient business works like a well-oiled machine. Each department and level feed into one another to keep the cogs turning day to day. In order to keep everything working smoothly, key team members across the business need to have visibility and a clear understanding of how each department is contributing to the wider company goals.

To put this into the context of gift cards, if gift card managers cannot provide visibility and data around how their gift card programme is contributing to wider company goals around customer acquisition and retention, how will senior management understand their gift card programme’s value and provide appropriate resources for it to achieve its potential?

A gift card manager presenting to a team in the boardroom.

This knowledge and visibility breakdown has been dubbed by Savvy as the ‘gift card gap’. Without the data and tools available for gift card managers to illuminate the success story, the true value of gift cards might remain hidden in plain sight within your business.

What is the ‘gift card gap’?

Did you know that 54% of gift card managers do not use data to manage their gift card programme and 37% do not have strong internal management? These statistics were uncovered during 2023’s GCVA’s annual conference and bring some context as to how the gift card gap has become an issue.

Sure, if you’re a gift card manager then you understand the power of gift cards. But how can you demonstrate this with those at the top of the food chain who may not yet totally share this understanding in the same way? Without the data to tell the story internally of gift card performance, you are likely to find yourself struggling to be heard and get on the agenda in the boardroom.

How data can grow your gift card programme

Data is the key to bringing the success and challenges of your gift card programme to life. Unlocking the insights hidden in your data will mean you’ll never miss an opportunity to make strategic decisions that will generate further revenue and grow your gift card programme.

Not only will data provide new opportunities for your gift card programme that you may not yet be aware of, but it can be instrumental in building the case for gift cards within your company. It’s always going to be important to be able to report on the basics; gift card sales, return on investment and redemption rates. However, the more you drill down and filter your data, the more specific findings you can present. This will not only close the gift card gap and build the case for gift cards but provide value to other parts of the business too.

Let’s explore the many ways that data can close the gift card gap.

Know your gift card programme’s worth

How do you know if your gift card programme is actually profitable for your business? How often have you been challenged on themes of incrementality and cannibalisation? If you can’t say for sure or you don’t have the numbers to be able to answer these questions, then the default doubters tend to win the argument.

Ironically, your business already has all the data needed to answer these questions. It just isn’t sitting in one easily accessible place. Being able to prove your gift card programme’s return on investment (ROI) with solid data could be one of the best steps you can take to put your programme on the front foot.

Identify your strongest and weakest channels

As a gift card manager on the front line of all things gift cards, you may understand that your gift cards aren’t selling as well in-store compared to other channels, for example. As a result, you may want to invest in in-store team training in this area in order to make improvements. Or perhaps you can see the success of your gift card within gift card malls and want to ensure the investment is there to continue this focus.

With data, you can demonstrate and track the redemption behaviour of your gift cards. This allows you to identify and prove your strongest and weakest channels. This informs future activity and any missed opportunities. For instance, if in-store is an area that needs a little boost, analytics data can even provide you with visibility over which store or stores are performing the weakest and strongest so that you can effectively focus your efforts where it is most needed.

Having this level of visibility means you can lay out the business case in numbers, clearly demonstrate what it is you need and why and in future, report back on how this investment made an impact.

Analyse the ROI of your marketing activities

Marketing is an important part of any gift card programme. After all, your gift cards won’t sell themselves! Sometimes, marketing can feel a little like trial and error. However, with the right data, you can streamline your marketing activities and ensure that what you’re doing actually holds value.

Better still, real-time data allows you to make changes to your promotions whilst they’re still running in order to maximise their potential. For instance, if you’re running an online gift card offer that data shows isn’t getting much traction, you may decide to schedule additional email marketing and social media activity before the promotion risks making you a loss.

Being able to report successful marketing campaigns to CFOs and C-suite managers means that you have a better chance of securing the marketing budgets you need to continue shouting about your gift card programme.

Understand redemption & uplift behaviour

Whilst all gift cards are instantly loaded with funds upon purchase, not all of them get redeemed. But the level of non-redemption varies wildly. Very few retailers actually have detailed insight into this dynamic, which in some cases dramatically alters business case estimates for different sales channels and campaigns.

Uplift is a related dynamic and a key metric to consider. The average additional spend on a gift card is 35% of the card value. It can be one of the most impressive elements of a gift card programme that you can report on to demonstrate ROI.

Far too many brands use average estimates for non-redemption and uplift. Having real-time access to the actual performance data can transform understanding of what is happening on the ground every day, building confidence in the commercial decisions being taken.

Analytics data can show you which channels specifically create the best end-to-end commercial impact and in turn, the true ROI of your marketing campaigns and gift card programme as a whole.

Sales targets

When it comes to reporting to senior managers, sales targets are often an important part of the conversation. Make these conversations a whole lot easier and take your reporting and forecasting to the next level with gift card analytics data.

Unlocking gift card analytics data will allow you to gain a clear understanding of whether you are on track to meet your gift card sales targets. You can analyse the data with weekly, monthly and quarterly year-on-year comparisons to add more detail and colour to the picture. Split by sales channel, sales partner or brand and provide the most accurate forecasting for your gift card sales.

The Savvy solution

In order to really showcase the value and opportunities lying within gift cards, you may need a little helping hand from the data. Data is the key to unlocking the gift card gap and giving those that need it the knowledge to understand your gift card programme’s potential.

Savvy’s Analytics platform is designed to provide visibility of exactly this. Our interactive dashboard gives you an understanding of everything from load values and outstanding redemption values to marketing campaign results and channel performance.

You can also identify trends by filtering this data by channel, partner brand, promotion, store location and even card type. This paints a detailed picture of areas of success and areas in need of attention to report back on.


It’s time to command attention in the boardroom. Demonstrate your successes and identify missed opportunities with data to engage your senior managers. It’s as simple as signing up to Savvy’s Analytics platform.

Book a free 30 minute meeting today and one of our friendly experts can walk you through an interactive demo of our world-class Analytics technology, bringing to life exactly what it could do for you and your business.

For more information, contact us. We’re available via our website or give us a call on 0870 735 2829 (UK), 0190 22752 (Ireland) or 001 (502) 489 4439 (USA & Canada).

How gift cards can help to drive footfall in off-peak times

The majority of businesses suffer quiet periods at some point in the week, month or year. For restaurants, it might be that pre-dinner time rush between 2pm and 4pm. For hotels, it might be the start of the year after the Christmas chaos between January and May before kids break up from school and people begin travelling a little more. Zoos and attractions often struggle to attract crowds during the winter season. Retail can see quiet times hit at any point outside of the October to January peak season.

Let’s face it – off-peak times are never particularly kind to business sales. You need to stay open and continue paying staff but you’re just not seeing the footfall to offset the associated costs. It’s a common dilemma. You can, however, utilise these quiet periods to give you the opportunity to focus your attention on other things – namely your gift card programme.

'Come in we're open' sign hanging in a shop window.

The good news is that gift cards have a lot of potential in boosting sales and driving footfall in off-peak times. Take advantage of this quieter period and ensure that your gift card programme is really delivering for you. We at Savvy are here to explain just how to do that and how we can help.

Ensure your gift card can only be used at certain times

Every business wants customers to continue spending during their quiet times. Wouldn’t it be great if you could restrict your gift card usage to meet this need? With Savvy’s new gift card platform configurations, now you can.

Let’s say for example that you run a hotel. Whilst you still need to have paid staff working, and pay utilities and equipment expenses as normal during your quiet months from January to May, it proves pretty hard to fill all available rooms. As a result, your profitability suffers.

Savvy allows you to place restrictions on your promotional gift cards around these quiet times of the year (or week or day) to help combat this. It drives footfall in off-peak times. This encourages the gift card user into your premises to spend their gift card value (and hopefully a little extra) when business is quiet and you need the sales.

And with any kind of business, it can really put customers off visiting if your premises are looking empty. They may assume it’s because your products, food, drinks or service are sub-par. People attract people. Getting your gift card users in during off-peak times can spark a chain reaction and drive in additional customers. This creates that all-important buzz and atmosphere that makes an experience in retail or hospitality more enjoyable. As a result, you might just keep people coming back for more.

Tailor your gift card marketing

Placing restriction controls on your gift cards doesn’t have to feel like you’re limiting your customers. Cleverly tailor your gift card marketing activity to create a buzz around these specific times or days that you’d like your gift cards to be used.

If you run a restaurant, you may decide to restrict your promotional gift card usage to lunchtime between Monday to Thursday to fill tables and drive footfall during off-peak times. If this is the case, try marketing a ‘mid-week lunch club’ where gift card users can redeem their vouchers and give it an exclusive feel.

You could even offer a free soft drink for all redeemed gift cards during the lunch club to create more of an incentive for your customers. Perhaps you could offer dishes on a ‘secret’ menu that are only available during these off-peak times to encourage customers in and make them feel like they are part of something a little more special.

Ensure the basket value meets a minimum value threshold

It can sometimes be frustrating when a customer redeems their gift card against sale items rather than your full-priced items – especially if the basket value of sale items is not any higher than normal. Any business owner with a gift card programme will know that you often rely on the uplift that gift cards can bring, with the average additional spend on a gift card in the UK being 35% of the card value.

However, you might decide to offer promotional gift cards to sales channels where the minimum basket value is agreed in advance. For example, you can offer B2B clients a 15% discount on your promotional gift cards but they cannot be redeemed during the Christmas period and must have a minimum basket value of £50.

You’re giving terrific value to the end customer, but the terms of engagement are balanced. You can enjoy the peace of mind that you’ll be making money from your sale. As a result, your gift card uplift should stay healthy.

Add Savvy’s analytics platform to the mix and you can gain a greater understanding of your gift card uplift as a whole, with data exposing which sales channels are performing poorly or superbly when it comes to uplift, allowing you to move forward and focus your efforts accordingly.

Offer a free gift card as an incentive during off-peak times

You could also use gift cards as a way of rewarding those who spend with you during your off-peak times. These gift cards could hold a minimum value in order to avoid eroding your margin and to ensure they still make financial sense. This incentive could be the difference between someone choosing to visit during your quiet period versus your busy period.

Similarly, you could consider implementing a referral programme where a gift card with off-peak restrictions is offered as a reward for any customer who refers a friend or family member. Not only are you encouraging your customer back during off-peak times with their gift card and strengthening their relationship with your brand, but you’re attracting brand-new referral customers to impress in the process.

Whatever promotion you decide to run, just be sure to market it sufficiently so that your customers are aware that it’s running. Utilise your social media platforms, website, POS materials and of course your staff to share the promotion details and as a result, drive footfall during off-peak times.



Don’t let quiet times and seasons slow you down. It’s time to utilise the power of gift cards to drive footfall during off-peak times.

Need more control over your gift card programme? Want to make your gift cards work harder for you? At Savvy, we’re all about helping you win. We put you in control and give you the power of our gift card management and analytics data to level up your gift card programme.

Contact us and let’s start a conversation. We’re available via our website or give us a call on 0870 735 2829 (UK), 0190 22752 (Ireland) or 001 (502) 489 4439 (USA & Canada).

How to get the most out of your gift card programme

We may be a little biased here at Savvy, but we believe that gift cards are pretty wonderful little things with big potential. There is so much more to gift cards than customers simply redeeming them and spending with you. With the right tools and knowledge, your gift cards can really work a lot harder for you. In fact, gift cards could actually be the answer to some of the frustrating business challenges you may be facing.

Close up of a woman's finger shopping online with a gift card using a smartphone.

At Savvy, we help brands all over the globe realise this. As a result, we help them win in the world of gift cards. In this article, we cover a few ways that you can get the most out of your gift card programme with a little help from us and our platform.

Boost your sales & footfall during off-peak times

Off-peak times are something that the majority of businesses experience at some point in the week, month or year. They can make day-to-day running costs difficult to balance. Whether it’s mid-week afternoons for restaurants or the winter months for hotels and attractions, off-peak times can take their toll on business performance.

However, when configured in the right way, gift cards can give off-peak times a much-needed business boost. With Savvy’s platform configurations, you can apply restrictions on when gift cards can be redeemed in order to drive sales and footfall during those times when you really need them.

Take a theme park, for example. January to May might be a particularly difficult period for business. The potential of bad weather and school term times in full swing can consequently slow bookings. Savvy’s platform capabilities allow you to place restrictions on your gift cards around the time of year (or week or day) that they can be redeemed to help combat this, encouraging the gift card holder into your premises to spend their gift card value (and hopefully a little extra) when business is quiet and you need the sales.

The ability to boost sales and footfall during off-peak times with gift cards is also invaluable for restaurant businesses. Typically, weekends and evenings are the busiest periods for restaurants. So, what happens on Monday to Thursday before 5pm? You are open for business incurring all the associated fixed costs paying utilities and staff, but the footfall just isn’t there.

Consider restricted gift card usage windows to fill tables during these quieter times. Create an incentive by offering a free soft drink for all redeemed gift cards during these times. Or perhaps offer dishes on a ‘secret’ menu that is only available during off-peak times. Help customers feel that they are getting something special.

Connect to new customers with Savvy’s API

And of course, reaching new customers can only ever be a good thing – especially for boosting sales and footfall. Savvy’s API is connected with over 160 platforms, selling gift cards across B2C third-party, B2B direct and B2B third-party sales channels.

Wouldn’t it be great to see your gift card amongst the gift card malls in supermarkets and online outlets? Would selling your gift cards on Amazon deliver a step change in sales volumes the way it does for thousands of other businesses? Wouldn’t it be great to see your gift card offered by businesses as part of their customer rewards scheme? Your gift card is pretty awesome – give it the exposure it deserves and entice new customers. Savvy has the connections and ability to make this happen.

B2B rewards market

One of the most fruitful of these potentially untapped channels is the B2B rewards market. In fact, in their State of the Nation March 2022 report, the Gift Card and Voucher Association (GCVA) found that over the last three to four years, an almost equal proportion of consumers received a gift card as a reward or incentive from a company as the proportion that had purchased gift cards for themselves. This is showing no sign of slowing as we move into 2023.

An organisation may use an employee benefits platform such as Perkbox in order to reward their workforce with points each month that can be collected and exchanged for a gift card. By integrating your gift card with platforms such as these, your brand is amongst the options that employees can choose from when investing their points.

Again, you can control the redemption rules for these new customers using our platform configurations in order to drive their business during your off-peak times. With access to the right tools, your gift cards can truly work to benefit your business and solve the challenge of dealing with your off-peak periods.

Avoid margin erosion

As you may be aware, gift cards are often sold at a discount with the load value sitting higher than the purchase value. Sure, these promotions are super effective and work wonders when attracting and rewarding customers and encouraging repeat business. But when these gift cards then go on to be redeemed against sales items, for instance, it can eat away at your margin. Not ideal!

The good news is that with Savvy, you can actually set restrictions around location, times of day, and specific days or date ranges. This ensures that the gift cards you sell to specific channels during promotional periods can only be redeemed during specified timeframes. This encourages a healthy return on investment and is another example of how you can ensure your gift card is tailored to your business needs.

For example, you may want to avoid selling people a gift card on promotion during Black Friday sales that will then be redeemed during peak trading windows. Why not set a start date of 30 days away before that card is redeemed, ensuring you really are selling advance future bookings rather than discounting those bookings already coming your way? It’s not unusual for retailers and the like to set these restrictions, so don’t be concerned about feeling as if you’re limiting your customers.

Maximise your gift card marketing activity

It would be great if they did, but unfortunately, your gift cards will not sell themselves. They need effective gift card marketing activity behind them to give them the best chance at success! But what are the best ways to do this?

In-store marketing

Digital gift card sales soared over the pandemic, leaving physical gift card sales choking on the dust. Since then, however, digital sales have plateaued and now the playing field between the two channels is pretty level. With that in mind, your in-store gift card displays need to be pulled back to the forefront of your mind. Think carefully about how you’re presenting them visually.

Are your gift cards located at the register? Sure, this is great for planned purchases, but also ensuring they are displayed around the store can maximise those impulse purchases too. Focus on engaging visuals for your point of sale (POS) material. Use signage for clever taglines to showcase the reasons why a customer should purchase your gift card.

Utilise incentives and rewards

Gift cards can be used to inspire your customers to spend more when used as incentives and rewards. Boost sales on your pet supplies website by offering a £5 gift card to those who purchase to a particular threshold, such as £50. Offer a pre-loaded gift card for their next visit once a customer purchases ten sweet treats at your dessert parlour.

You strengthen the relationship between your brand and your customer and you pretty much secure a return visit. It’s a win-win. Plus, 72% of gift card users spend more than the original value of their card, so you should reap the rewards of offering freebies.

Gift cards work hand-in-hand with loyalty. They allow you to attract customers by encouraging them to sign up for your loyalty programme, reward the customers who spend with you and even reach out to customers who have lapsed their spending with you.

Leverage key events

Whatever your business, seasonal events and holidays throughout the year can really give your marketing activity a bit of colour and focus. Have these in mind when planning your gift card marketing. Starting with the obvious, Google searches for ‘gift cards’ see an enormous spike every single December in time for the gifting season. You’d be crazy not to leverage Christmas time to really amp up your marketing activity.

You can also look outside the box and outside of the holidays we all know and love, however. There’s a celebratory day for pretty much anything if you search hard enough. National Doughnut Day, National Burger Day, National Book Lovers Day – you name it, it probably exists. Check out this National Day Calendar for key dates and plan some fun gift card marketing activity around a date that suits your business.

Whilst marketing is key for a successful gift card programme, it can be difficult to know you’re driving activity in the right direction. With Savvy’s Analytics platform, you can gain real insight into your gift card performance as a whole – not just in relation to marketing. Discover which channels are performing best such as in-store versus online and which of your stores are hitting the hot spot with their sales. Filter data by sales, uplift value and redemption value over specific time periods such as month-on-month or year-on-year to monitor and compare.

Understand outstanding redemption

You might be selling plenty of gift cards, but is non-redemption of your gift cards an issue? 10-19% of gift cards are never actually redeemed. You’ve already received the revenue, but revenue typically can’t be recognised until a corresponding product or service is provided, making it difficult to improve your P&L (profit & loss).

To get the most out of your gift card programme and your redemption levels, Savvy’s Analytics platform provides you with a clear understanding of load values and outstanding redemption values. This visibility helps you to build an accurate picture of your total gift card liability in real time. Filter by channel, partner, brand, promotion, store location and card type to spot trends. This enables you to take the appropriate action to encourage gift card redemption.


At Savvy, we’re always looking for new ways to help your business and your gift card programme win. The capabilities we offer to our customers are always evolving as we strive to allow you to truly maximise the potential of your gift card programme.

If you don’t feel like you’re getting the most from your current gift card programme, turn to Savvy to help you take control. To learn more about how our Gift Card Management and Analytics platform can help you, just contact us and let’s start a conversation. We’re available via our website or give us a call on 0870 735 2829 (UK), 0190 22752 (Ireland) or 001 (502) 489 4439 (USA & Canada).

Tapping into the B2B rewards market

There’s not a lot that the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t affect. It changed the way many of us think and feel about life and this fed into consumer and employee attitudes towards businesses and organisations. People were left craving connection and a need to feel valued by the companies they work for and the brands they spend their hard-earned money with.

A woman holding a rewards gift card.

A 2021 Mastercard study revealed that 74% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that strived to provide excellent care for customers during the pandemic, reinforcing that a customer-centric approach is more important than ever before.

Employees in particular are rethinking their purpose and seeking more than just a monthly paycheck from their employer. As a result, reward and recognition in the workplace continue to increase in significance. In fact, organisations that reward and recognise employee success have 14% better employee engagement, productivity and customer service than those without. Plus, they have a 31% lower employee turnover.

These attitude shifts over the last few years in particular have driven more organisations to invest money into employee benefits, customer rewards and B2B schemes. As a result, the B2B rewards market has become an incredibly profitable avenue for retailers with gift card programmes.


Gift cards and the B2B reward market

Whether an organisation is looking to reward their employees or a business is looking to reward its loyal customers, gift cards offer the choice and flexibility needed to please the masses so that all different walks of life can be catered to effectively with one product.

Let’s say for instance that an organisation rewards their workforce with points each month that can be built up and exchanged for a gift card via an employee benefits platform (such as Perkbox). By integrating your gift card with a platform like Perkbox, you get your name among the brands that employees can choose from when investing their points.

In a customer sense, let’s say that a bank, for instance, wants to reward a customer for opening a second account with them. Or perhaps an insurance company wants to incentivise prospective customers to choose their insurance policy. Your gift card could be that reward or incentive offered to clinch the deal – a win-win for everyone involved.

In their State of the Nation March 2022 report, the Gift Card and Voucher Association (GCVA) found that over the last three years, an almost equal proportion of consumers received a gift card as a reward or incentive from a company as the proportion that had purchased gift cards for themselves. With that in mind, there’s no denying that the B2B channel for gift cards is going from strength to strength and could be well worth your investment.


Why work with B2B reward schemes?

Still need more persuading? Businesses and organisations can reap many benefits from being a part of the B2B rewards market. Here are a few of the core advantages to whet your appetite.

Increase your brand awareness

Sure, it sounds pretty obvious but it’s important to recognise that connecting with other businesses and putting your gift card amongst different B2B distribution channels will in turn increase your brand awareness. When an employee is browsing an online ‘catalogue’ trying to decide which reward to choose, just simply being among the options can be hugely beneficial for brand exposure – particularly for smaller or growing brands.

Gain new customers

And you never know – that employee browsing the online ‘catalogue’ may just decide to redeem their points on your gift card. Offer them a frictionless customer experience and a fantastic product or service and you could have another happy, loyal customer to add to your roster for the foreseeable. Put simply, by putting your name among the options, you give yourself the opportunity to win new customers and re-engage those that have bought from you in the past but have since fallen off the radar.

Get ahead of your competitors

Whether you are a fashion retailer, a restaurant chain or a gym, you’ll almost always have competitors in your space to keep an eye on. Working with B2B reward schemes can add another string to your bow, take your business to potentially unchartered territory and put you ahead of the game. On a shopping high street or a Google search, your business will naturally be competing against tens to hundreds of competitors, but on a B2B reward channel, you may find it’s a naturally less saturated market, giving you a greater opportunity to stand out.


How Savvy can help

Tempted to start exploring the B2B rewards market? At Savvy, we have all the tools to help you access these B2B channels and get started with this new venture. With the Savvy platform, you can set up new partners with both speed and ease and use our gift card analytics services to measure and maximise how your gift card is performing.

Want to learn how you can win with Savvy? Get in touch today and let us show you how we can take your gift card programme to the next level.

Build it or buy it? How to approach selling gift cards online

It’s taken some time and painful mistakes along the way, but retailers and businesses have now increasingly realised that purchasing a gift card online doesn’t fit very easily within the traditional website checkout process.

A finger on an iPad with an illustration of a shopping trolley alongside

The majority of today’s shoppers are pretty familiar with shopping online. In fact, in 2021, over 2.14 billion people shopped online. That’s 27.6% of the world’s total population! And because we can purchase pretty much anything online and are continuously bombarded with an enormous amount of choices, our tolerance for a bad checkout process is pretty low. The average cart abandonment rate is just under a whopping 70%, meaning that around seven out of 10 shoppers won’t complete their transaction.

For online retailers to stay up to speed with competitors when selling gift cards online and keep their shoppers from clicking the dreaded ‘X’ button, their checkout process needs to be simple, smooth and efficient. And this has been somewhat of an issue in the past when selling gift cards…


The dilemma

Put yourself in an online customer’s shoes. They want to purchase a coat from your clothing website. They add their desired product to the basket, proceed to checkout, enter their card and delivery details and complete the order. Simple.

Let’s say that they also want to purchase a gift card for a friend or family member. They add the gift card to their basket and you now need to take additional details from them before they can proceed to the checkout. Which design of gift card would they like? What value do they want to load onto the gift card? Do they want to add a gift message? Is this being sent to the delivery address or email address associated with the coat purchase or directly to a lucky recipient? Is it to be sent immediately or delayed until a later date?

In short, it quickly becomes clear that a gift card is a very different type of product. Therefore, it should not be approached in the same way as other products and integrated into the normal checkout process. Even if your customer is only purchasing a gift card on your website as a standalone purchase, a gift card requires an entirely different customer journey from the one offered with a normal online checkout.

This dilemma throws up a very important question. When selling gift cards online, do you shoehorn gift card sales into your own website and run the gauntlet of these issues, or do you outsource to a specialist third-party provider instead?


Developing in-house: pros and cons

If you want a job done properly, do it yourself right? Or do the nuances of selling gift cards online require that expert touch? Let’s discuss the pros and cons of choosing to sell gift cards ‘in-house’ via your own website platform.

It costs less

The biggest perceived advantage is lower cost. Theoretically, you absorb an upfront build cost and then it more or less has no real running costs. It’s fixed. The outsourced model on the other hand will have ongoing recurring costs, while in-house is a one-off cost that you won’t have to worry about unless you decide to make changes and improvements over time.

Flexibility and freedom

By taking the development in-house, you can enjoy the flexibility and freedom of doing everything yourself. You can boundlessly customise how the customer journey will look and feel without having to accept an outsourcing platform’s template. You decide how much money to put into the project and set the deadline for completion.

Of course, there are downsides to doing it all yourself. If things go wrong, it’s very much your problem to solve. Even regular maintenance can quickly become a time and money pit. However, if you have a solid brand and feel strongly about being in control of this, developing in-house may be the more attractive option.

Increased exposure to fraud

Unfortunately, developing in-house offers you a lower level of fraud protection against fraudsters using your gift cards as a way to launder stolen credit cards and illegal funds into third-party items. This is a huge advantage of outsourcing as you transfer the risk and sleepless nights to your specialist partner. Luckily they sleep pretty well as they are built to combat this better than almost any retailer can hope to match.

To explain this point better, let’s take Payment Service Providers (PSPs) as an example. At one point in time, it was optional for retailers to use PSPs on their websites. By using a PSP, retailers were outsourcing their credit card acquiring risk to a third-party company that could not only guarantee that they would be Payment Card Industry compliant but also be able to spot any fraudsters and ensure the retailer would stay protected.

This obviously came at a cost to the retailer. Those who didn’t want to pay that cost believed they could protect themselves against fraud. Unfortunately, they soon learnt the hard way that they couldn’t. Fraudsters hunted down those retailers not using PSPs and targeted them with painful hacks where customers’ credit and debit card details were leaked from inadequately protected systems.

Today, no one uses in-house credit card strategies anymore. The very idea is almost laughable! PSPs have proved themselves as the only way to stay safe whilst taking payments online and the same can possibly now be said for the outsourced eGift card providers.


Outsourcing development: pros and cons

So, what about the other side of the coin? Developing in-house comes with its own set of challenges but is outsourcing really the better option? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

High security

As previously mentioned, outsourcing your online gift card sales to specialists is by far the safer option. These providers have curated their software to offer the highest level of protection and they are so confident of this, that they take all responsibility for any fraudulent activity. Should anything go wrong, they take the hit and not you. You’re protected.

This level of financial protection as a retailer really is worth its weight in gold. These businesses depend on keeping their systems (and therefore you) airtight and 100% secure.

Fully optimised customer journey

The outsourced providers’ entire R&D budget is focused on their platform to continually drive gift card sales – the in-house approach can’t hope to keep pace with that level of focus. As a retailer, you’ve got 101 things on your radar. Ensuring that your online basket customer journey is continuously optimised and up to date just for gift cards possibly won’t always be high up on that to-do list. However, when you use an outsourcing platform, this is a permanent number one priority.

Think about it – these platforms exist solely to help you sell gift cards. It’s their area of expertise! They do everything they can to add value by giving your customers the best purchasing journey possible and this is always evolving to meet increasingly demanding consumer expectations. New consumer trend on the horizon? Outsourcing platforms are likely to be the first to develop it and embed it into the platform. This means you get access to the latest features and capabilities automatically.

They’ll know exactly the right process to offer when both purchasing and receiving gift cards along with presenting how a gift card is sold and understanding the optimum amount of steps a buyer should go through when purchasing in order for you to secure the highest conversion rate and stay in-line or ahead of your competitors.

Ongoing costs

The only potential downside to opting to outsource is the ongoing costs associated, whether that’s subscription-based costs or performance-based costs where you will have to pay a commission on your gift card sales. You may also find yourself paying for platform upgrades and additional features over time although many outsourcing platforms will automatically add some of these free of charge.

Building the solution in-house can be the cheaper option – but will a potentially subpar digital gift card process cause your cart abandonment rates to rocket and your gift card sales to drop? Will your internal fraud solutions be robust enough to protect you? Will you suffer higher than necessary failure rates from accidentally rejecting genuine cardholder payment details? This is something that must be considered when retailers are weighing up whether outsourcing is worth the investment.


Which option is right for you?

In today’s gift card landscape, outsourcing is now almost always the best option. The pros totally outweigh the cons. You’ll save yourself some potentially enormous mistakes and security breaches by relying on a third-party company that is built to protect you from this risk.

In fact, two out of three of the largest UK retailers are now estimated to follow the outsourcing model. This is evidence enough that as the market has grown and the retailers are selling more cards than ever – particularly online – retailers have embraced the outsource model for the advantages it offers in a continually scaling situation, whilst being highly sensitive to fraud and evolving enhanced customer journeys.

Let’s face it – you can’t always do everything well! Why not focus on your core business of being a retailer and opt for the outsourcing option? By working with us here at Savvy, you can access our connections with the best outsourcing providers. They will work with you to ensure that you are offering the best possible gift card experience for your customers when selling gift cards online, all whilst protecting your business and your customers.

Interested in learning more about working with us and how you can win with Savvy? Get in touch to request a callback and let us put you on the road to success!

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