By: Ben Kaplan
Gift cards are a tried-and-true strategy for influencing purchase decisions and, as such, have proven to be a lucrative revenue stream for small and big-box retailers alike. Today, gift cards take many forms and represent more than $110 billion in sales. Tomorrow, however, holds something much bigger for retailers with gifting programs. There’s a “branded currency” revolution on the horizon; those retailers that can make the transition from a traditional gift card program to a comprehensive branded currency strategy will have the opportunity to increase online and in-store sales, drive new customer acquisition and grow loyalty.
What’s Branded Currency?
Economists define currency as a store of value and a medium of exchange. For shoppers, gift cards are a form of currency, but also payments, loyalty points, coupons, credits or anything that allows a shopper to exchange with a retailer for its goods. Branded currency is all of these forms of payment under one branded umbrella.
Retailers that effectively combine these forms of currency can actually influence purchase decisions and use it as a competitive advantage. With the rapid consumer adoption of digital and mobile, retailers have a new opportunity to deliver this currency in a more convenient and effective way.