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Gift Cards 2013: Reload, Please

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As brick-and-mortar retailers upgrade their technology, the usage of e-cards will rise, says Ben Kaplan, chief executive officer of CashStar, a developer of digital gifting platforms for such retailers as Starbucks, Best Buy and Dunkin’ Donuts. “The digital gifting experience is at its best when the point-of-sale system is modern and can scan QR codes,” Kaplan says. E-gift card recipients can still redeem their gifts even if the retailer has not upgraded to the technology by having the card code entered manually at checkout, but the upgraded technology would make the process easier and potentially faster.

Some retailers are coming up with innovative promotions to push digital gifting. For example, Starbucks announced in October that consumers with both a Twitter account and a Starbucks account would be able to tweet their friends an e-gift of coffee.

Digital gift cards will also likely increase in popularity as consumers become more comfortable shopping online. While those who frequent the mall may prefer a traditional gift card, Jen Dorman, a social media coordinator for BeFrugal.com likes to save money by shopping online “so electronic gift cards are more convenient for me,” Dorman says.

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