Gift voucher power

With a million unwanted Christmas presents sold on ebay last year, gift vouchers are becoming a popular way to avoid upsetting a loved one with an ill-chosen purchase. Here's how they can benefit your business.

According to research agency YouGov, 41 per cent of around 2,000 adults prefer gift vouchers to traditional presents. But companies such as Waterstone’s and House of Fraser aren’t the only ones making the most of this trend. For small businesses they can up your sales, increase brand exposure and improve cash flow.

Do it yourself

As a small business you can issue and redeem the vouchers yourself. You will need to give each voucher a unique number and keep a log of the ones sold.

Use a spreadsheet or book to make a note of the time and date, voucher number and details of the purchaser. When the vouchers are redeemed, you can check the number off against the issue entry.

A local printing company should be able to help you produce a quality-looking product. Andrew Johnson, director-general of The Gift Card and Voucher Association, recommends using card to make the voucher look more tangible, and present it in an envelope.

No obligations

As the issuer and redeemer there are no regulations with which you legally need to comply. However, it is good customer practice to have a list of terms and conditions on the back of each voucher. These should at least include an expiry date and your policy towards loss. For example: This voucher should be treated as cash.

All in the presentation

Vouchers are sometimes seen as a last resort when you’ve run out of ideas for what to buy someone. Although this may not be the case in the eyes of the receiver, the packaging needs to be designed to appeal to the purchaser so it looks like a real present.

In order to achieve this you may also want to sell presentation boxes and small gifts to accompany the vouchers.

More than a gift

It is important to remember that gift vouchers are separate from promotional vouchers – as money-off promotions involve a different set of issuing regulations. Nevertheless they can be used to incentivise customers to buy. For example, you can maximise sales by offering money back in vouchers if a customer spends a certain amount in store.

See also: Will cryptocurrency ever become normal in high street retail?

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