Gift Card Q&A with Martijn Stins
Foot Locker Europe
Supervisor Banking Operations & Gift Cards, Netherlands
Hadie: Reloadable, reusable, or recyclable? Does a customer care that much about eco-friendly cards? (we hope so, but the truth?)
Martijn: As a company I can image you want to be eco-friendly, hence you would want to reduce plastic usage and go with a “green” solution for your gift cards. It might depend on the customer base of a company whether this would be important to the consumer. In general, I think that unfortunately the choice between a plastic or eco-friendly card would not make the customer change brands. It might help in attracting new customers though. Although this is my vision of the current situation, we do need to realize that the environment is already a very important topic and continues to become more and more important. As the gift card industry is growing, I would hope that eco-friendly gift card become a more important topic for the consumers as well.
Hadie:What do retailers need more of: loyal customers or gift card sales?
Martijn: My thoughts on this would be that one would follow the other and not in a specific order. Loyal customers would influence other people to become a customer and could offer them gift cards to do so. Gift card sales, especially through channels that would not be typical for the retailer might lead to new customers that a company needs to turn into loyal customers with their service level. Finally, selling gift cards to loyal customers also means locking in a future sale and having an opportunity to better serve the already loyal customer.
Hadie: You’ve got a magic wand for 6 months and budget isn’t an issue. What sales channels/ partnership solutions would you create into existence that would transform your gift card bottom line?
Martijn: An interesting question! What I think would be really beneficial is to look at payment methods as a whole, in combination with a loyalty program. I think an omni channel approach would serve both the retailer and the customer best. Through a thorough loyalty program, you can collect data around your customers and their behaviour. Through your own gift card program, you can reach these customers as well as new customer as described above. In accepting a variety of third party cards and vouchers you can make sure to serve your customer regardless of the payment method. All of this shopping behaviour would reflect in your loyalty program, which then leads to an even better insight on customer behaviour and an excellent opportunity to serve the customer in the best possible way.
Hadie: The Gift card industry is predicted to be worth $7 trillion by 2027, globally. Will this growth be attributed to major changes to spending habits or to how gift cards will he more available and accessible (new tech, new sales channels)?
Martijn: Again, a bit of both. In a lot of countries gift cards are still relatively new and have a great potential to grow. With fast-evolving technology and demand, we need to ensure to keep up with the latest trends in offering to our customers. One of the changes that I see is the evolution of multi choice cards (exchangeable for mono branded cards before being able to use them) which I think will be of influence going forward. In general, I am also seeing a trend of people wanting to make their own choice and in parallel cash becoming less important. Both factors would be of influence with regards to the growth of the gift card business to my opinion.