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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Giving a Gift Card? You Better Watch Out!

News reports and email warnings are circulating warning that the gift cards you give or receive could be nothing more than useless pieces of plastic.

The USA Today newspaper reported that holders of $20 million worth of gift cards got nothing when the Sharper Image chain declared bankruptcy earlier this year. That's $20,000,000 of gift givers and receivers that were disappointed.

Bombay Company's gift cards weren't worthless... they redeemed them for 1/4 of their face value. So your $100 card was only worth $25.

Consumers Union attorney Michelle Jun says "it's hard to know what retailer will sink tomorrow."

What can you do?

In spite of this news, Deloitte's 23rd Annual Holiday Survey of retail spending expects gift cards to be the top gift purchase for the fifth straight year. 66% of consumers are expected to buy a gift card this season. The average shopper will buy about 5 gift cards. That is about $25 billion dollars worth.

You want to give a gift card, but how can you do it safely and confidently?

My gift cards are available in multiple denominations that suit every budget. They are backed by a debt-free, private US corporation with sales over $7 billion last year. When you purchase the card you can know that it will be redeemable by your recipient.

Choose the gift card you want to give from one of the many themed or general collections offered at my giftcard web store. You set the budget, they select the perfect gift from the online catalog. You are the only one that knows how much you paid. There are no prices listed on the redemption site.

These cards are especially welcome gifts because your friends, family, customers, staff, service providers (favorite bloggers?) get to choose what they receive. No more pen sets, ties, soaps and lotions -- unless that's what they want! The "wow factor" is high when they go online and see the choices they have. Their excitement of receiving the gift from you is relived when that special package arrives at their door. And if it isn't exactly what they expected, they can painlessly return it for something else. They feel good... and you can feel good about that.

These cards retain their value over time. There are no monthly fees or charge, there is no expiry date, there is no residual value after you select the gift. If the card is lost it can be replaced (as long as you keep the receipt).

AND... Free Shipping! That is correct, there is never a shipping charge when you order the card and there is no shipping charge when they request their gift.

Simple to buy and simple to redeem.

No worries about standing in line behind the person looking for the exact $13.67 change. No fighting for parking spot at the mall. No nervous breakdown as you watch the six o'clock news on December 22 and see that the XYZ chain has filed for bankruptcy protection. You sleep well at night because your gifts were purchased effortlessly online and the gift cards will still have their value after the new year.

I leave you with a quote from Dr. Maya Angelou:
People will forget what you said
People will forget what you did
But people will never forget how you made them feel

Make them feel good and make yourself feel great!