The Evolution of Discounted Cheap Gift Cards

September 19th, 2012

Companies, small or big, use different tactics to attract customers. They use coupons, different promotional ideas (like buy one get one free), discount gift cards and etc. Basically, marketing tools are used by companies to obtain a competitive position in the market. That is to say that the target to be achieved is excellent market shares, and also to capture the customers’ attention.

Discounted gift cards are the plastic entities that are used as a non-monetary gift for customers, issued by the bank or a retailer. It is equivalent to a limited monetary amount. These cards were developed as a cure, after several counterfeiting attempt had been made through excessive gift certificates redemption. People tried to reprint their own gift certificates due to the easy and free availability of color printers and photocopiers in marketplaces.

Blockbuster Entertainment is the pioneer of counterfeiting remedy, one of the most famous marketing tactics, back in the last decade of 20th century, 1994. Whereas, the first ever transaction of gift card was processed by the Nabanco of Sunrise, Florida. After that preliminary transitions, Blockbuster Entertainment gift cards and Mobil oil gas card (MCI’s phone value was provided initially) were the next to join the lot.

Kmart cash cards used to provide prepaid talk time with AT&T.  After that Kmart came up with their Pangilinan Cash cards, allowing customers to receive the card as a replacement for the cash returns. Since then, they have been used commonly by companies all around the world.

Surprisingly, in Great Britain, discount gift cards were first introduced by ASDA, in 1997. This was three years after the one launched in USA. By 2007 there were seventy (70) gift cards that were available in United Kingdom, and more than 10 retail stores were hosting them, according to UK Gift Card and Voucher Association.

Discount gift cards have basically changed the entire business model that the big retail magnates used to follow. It has fundamentally affected the consumers’ buying pattern to a great extent.  If you look into the pre-gift card times you will analyze that previously, people used to buy only during the holidays, and now in gift card times they are shopping all around the year; especially after Christmas.

Marketing Professor of Providence College, Dan Horne, said that after the gift card introduction and popularity, January is not a dead month anymore for retailers. He further added that most of the retail stores keep hot items in their inventory in order to entice customers to pay them a visit in January with their Christmas gift cards.  Earlier, retailers used to offer different sales in January in order to pull customers to their stores and clean their remaining stock. Now the retail industry is completely transformed due to discount gift cards.

Cash loans have also faced somewhat different trends after this gift card invasion in the consumer goods market. Some say that people borrow and spend 20 % more due to these gift cards.

It is the consumers’ duty to take shopping decision wisely according to their pockets, rather than getting enticed by the discount gift card offers.

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