Improve gift card programs to reduce small-business stress during the holidays
November 14, 2013

Small and medium-sized retailers may want to invest in advanced gift card programs now to anticipate an increase in business activity during the holiday shopping season.

According to a recent survey conducted by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics, a Big Data company, shoppers throughout the U.S. will likely be looking for gift cards more than ever before throughout the last few weeks of 2013. The report found more than 80 percent of 6,201 participating consumers said they intend to purchase these alternative gift ideas at some point between now and the end of the year. The authors of the survey reported the growing popularity of these items has largely to do with broader trends in consumer behaviors.

"Gift givers know that many of their loved ones may have been holding back on spending on themselves all year long, and would love nothing more than to receive a gift card that allows them to purchase whatever they want," Pam Goodfellow, consumer insights director at Prosper, stated in a press release.

The survey also found American shoppers will likely spend more money per card compared to previous years. Whereas consumers spent an average $43.75 per item in 2012, this year that number will increase to $45.16.

Why are gift cards good for businesses?
It's not just consumers and their loved ones who will benefit from the ability to use a prepaid piece of plastic to purchase any item they desire within a specified price range. In fact, store owners have much to gain from offering advanced gift card programs to customers. For example, rather than worrying about stocking enough inventory for the holiday shopping season, small and medium-sized retailers can instead offer prominent gift card displays that allow shoppers to return at a later date and purchase items that may be currently sold out.

A recent report from Ink from Chase, a small business card program run by Chase Bank, stores throughout the U.S. are taking after larger retailers and preparing for the holiday rush earlier than ever before. However, these expanded efforts often place a strain on owners and employees who aren't used to dedicating as much time to work during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Investing in a simple gift card program not only creates a variety of flexible options for consumers, but it also helps make small business operations run much more smoothly during the holiday rush.

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