Employee Rewards News: Gift card exchanges and their effect on gift cards as rewards

Every person wanting to give an appropriate reward or incentive wants to make a great choice, which is why Gift cards are an ‘evergreen’ gift. From prepaid cards, open and closed loop, multi retailer or just for one place you’ll know your demographic will love, from marketing promotions to employee rewards, gift cards are big business.

Why people want to sell gift cards

One complaint of the gift card has been its inflexibility if chosen incorrectly. If you love a certain brand and select that as the card you want to promote with, it might not be right for the recipient. Consider changing family circumstances, different incomes and a multitude of similar issues.

Zeek is one of the leaders in the market, and their business was built on experience.

“It all started when one of our founders got married and received an expensive gift. As often happens, he went to the shop, swapped it for a gift voucher, which was promptly folded and put into his wallet. Time passed, and with it the expiry date on the voucher, and the money had gone down the drain, as simple as that. After getting upset, he realised that he was probably not the first person to have suffered from this incident and that it must be a fairly widespread problem that many people face and are forced to deal with. Further research has revealed that about 30% of vouchers in the world are not used each year. That amounts to about £65 B, which ends up in the bin. We decided to find a solution, and created a marketplace for gift vouchers.”

Your selling options

You might have thought eBay would be the ideal destination for a gift card but CNET explains this is the place where scams are rife.

“Because a gift card’s balance can be used up in seconds — even without the physical card in hand — eBay can be a dangerous venue for both selling and buying gift cards. Sellers risk scammy buyers purchasing cards, using up the balance and then claiming that the item was “not as described” (eBay is notorious for siding with buyers in purchase disputes). Buyers, on the other hand, can get scammed in many ways — one not-uncommon scam is a seller who uses up the gift card’s balance after it’s been sold and delivered to the buyer.”

You might also have heard of Raise or CardCash.com – and now Cardpool, Inc., a leading gift card exchange company owned by Blackhawk Network has announced Cardpool Marketplace, an ecommerce platform that enables sellers to list their pre-owned gift cards on Cardpool.com’s website alongside Cardpool’s inventory of gift cards.

It means that when selling an unwanted gift card, customers can accept a direct purchase offer from Cardpool or instead, list their gift card for sale at the price of choice on Marketplace for other buyers to purchase. This additional service gives customers more ways to unlock value from their gift cards.

Adoption of gift card exchange on the rise

This new option for buying and selling gift cards comes as awareness and adoption of gift card exchanges continues to grow. A June 2016 Blackhawk Network consumer study on consumer perceptions of egifts* found that 89 percent of the consumers surveyed stated they were aware of gift card exchange sites. However, only 13 percent of respondents said that they have purchased a gift card from an exchange site, while 78 percent said they would feel moderately to extremely safe about purchasing a gift card on a gift card exchange site and 48 percent said that they would consider using an exchange service to buy or sell gift cards.

“Cardpool streamlines the buying and selling process for pre-owned gift cards and egifts. We’re continuously working to optimize our gift card exchange tools to ‘get the right brands in the right hands’™,” said David Jones, general manager of Blackhawk’s Digital & Incentive divisions. “We’re delighted to offer our customers multiple options for selling and purchasing gift cards and egifts online at Cardpool.com, via mobile through the Cardpool app and in-store at select U.S. retail and grocery locations.”

So what does this mean for business purchases of gift cards? 

For businesses looking to purchase, it does mean you can have that extra layer of confidence that a gift won’t go to waste, but it also means that you should start to look closely at your demographic before you buy, to ask people what they want, or to speak to an advisor in the space around what gift cards would be right for you. This might mean your strategy involves a variety of gift cards, a branded card for your business that can be topped up digitally, or that you choose a multi retailer card, so that you don’t have to let people go down this route of exchange and re-sale. It is a solution that was much needed, but in business terms, it’s not an ideal memory or lasting impression for your great piece of marketing or the reward for a job well done.

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