Velocity Card Management: How Economies of Scale Can Catapult Gift Card Program Growth
December 6, 2018
Gift card programs can substantially contribute to the overall profits of merchants and brands. Unfortunately, many gift card program teams find it difficult to run efficiently, as team members are often spread across multiple roles and operational tasks steer focus away from strategic growth initiatives.
It’s not a unique business problem; however, it is a painful one for merchants who struggle to streamline gift card production on top of everything else. Gift card production requires specialized experience in inventory management, fulfillment, replenishment, and other niche departments. Problem solving and cost management in these areas is out-of-reach for merchants that lack domain expertise and other resources. The most promising solution is for merchants to tap an experienced partner and take advantage of economies of scale. Leveraging an on-demand team of experts can result in real-time problem solving, total cost management, and a growth-focused gift card program.
Gift Card Production Management Challenges
The domain expertise, resources, and supply chain relationships required to run a thriving gift card program are often the biggest stumbling blocks merchants encounter. While certainly true for novice gift card programs, even more experienced teams struggle to maintain an authoritative command across each of these big-lift areas. The inability to address these challenges can seriously inhibit a program’s ability to grow. We dive into some of these challenges below.
We work in a “do more with less” era where gift card teams of all shapes and sizes are stretched thin. With workers wearing multiple hats across broad areas of expertise, it becomes difficult to master any of them. Ecommerce, digital, fulfillment, production, and domestic and international growth each require time and dedication to be successful. Unfortunately, operational activities overrun gift card teams, making it difficult to truly grow the program. Whether a “one man show” or well-staffed gift card program, it can be arduous to cover all the essential areas (marketing, treasury, risk, digital, ecommerce, legal, production, warehousing, procurement and international) of expertise effectively.
Lack of Specialized Expertise
In addition to having the manpower, gift card programs also require domain expertise to be successful. Design, production and all the elements of gift card management require special expertise knowledge and industry relationships to maximize operational efficiencies and save resources. Having a person to cover a role is not enough; these team members must have considerable experience and competence in each of the following areas:
- International production
- Holiday planning
- Demand Planning & Inventory Control
- Design Services
- Product Implementation & Card Production
- Supply Chain Management & Procurement
- Signage & Print Production
Supply Chain and Inventory Knowledge Gaps
Arguably the most complex requirement, supply chain and inventory knowledge is essential to run a profitable gift card program. The chain from distribution centers to print suppliers to merchant warehouse to merchant location and the consumer is circuitous. Between buy side and sell side and the flow of information, product, and money across each can become a labyrinth merchants find impossible to untangle—or manage—in an efficient, cost-effective way.
As illustrated below, the supply chain is complex to navigate with many moving pieces that including planning, forecasting, replenishment, warehousing and logistics.
Overcoming all of these challenges is a tall order for merchants who are already limited in budget. It’s a conundrum for merchants who must grow gift card programs but do not have the bandwidth to focus on growth initiatives because of overwhelming operational tasks. Merchants that fall into this category must find a cost-effective solution to unburden themselves and refocus on the core gift card business. However, working with an outsourced partner can alleviate the burden on merchants.
The Velocity Card Management Solution
What is Velocity Card Management?
Velocity Card Management leverages CashStar technology and the Blackhawk Network’s deep industry relationships to create a central solution to production, fulfillment, and supply chain management challenges. Clients take advantage of savings from our buying power and economies of scale. We drive down costs overall, while optimizing upside for our merchants across a number of areas and operational tasks, including:
- Demand Planning & Inventory Control – forecasting for all products across all channels and inventory management system to control inventory allocation for distribution
- Fulfillment – leverage third party card deliveries via our secure facilities
- Product Implementation & Card Production – manage product onboarding as well as the production of all products direct and indirect
- Supply Chain & Procurement – warehouse management and inventory control, including direct store delivery and bulk delivery
- Signage & Print Production – creative support for product and marketing materials as well as in-store materials
How Velocity Card Management Works With Your Team
We provide a turnkey solution backed by domain expertise, advanced platforms, and a scaled process. We have fine-tuned the production, fulfillment, and supply chain flow over 17 years of industry experience with both domestic and international merchants. We combine our knowledge of the industry and existing relationships to offer a total system–including third party best practices that can be utilized for first party–for planning, forecasting, replenishment, production, and more. We have a breadth of supplier partners that enable us to offer a standardized process from quoting to onboarding to shipment, reducing the extra time merchants spend working directly with their own suppliers.
This translates to reduced costs and increased sales for merchants who use our advantage of scale and buying power to create more impactful card art, drive customer engagement and increase sales. By effectively removing card design, production, fulfillment, and inventory planning workload, merchants can repurpose cost saving to invest in better design, improved merchandising and other strategic initiatives geared towards incremental sales.
Our team works hand-in-hand with merchants to win incremental value at every touch point along the supply chain. We act as an extension of your team, meaning we attend meetings, work with internal groups and coordinate with suppliers on your behalf. Our detail-oriented team of experts help merchants oversee strategy, develop and implement best practices, refine processes and facilitate better collaboration within teams.
Working with Velocity Card Management yields dual advantages. On the operational side, merchants enjoy consolidated production, standardized processes, consolidated fulfillment, and the ability to leverage CashStar’s supply chain relationships and experience. On the expertise side, CashStar offers best-in-class card design and marketing programs as well as supplier, production and design subject matter experts. We provide an on-demand team of professionals that can help solve gift card challenges across the board.
As an extension of your team, we help you maximize the value you derive from Velocity Card Management by maximizing production, reducing costs, and introducing new products. We remove the least favorable tasks from our merchants’ plates so they can focus on growing their business.
For more information, visit our Velocity Card Management page.