The Future Of Gift Cards & Gift Certificates

by Lynnette

Credit Cards And Gift Cards, Gifts, z1

I recently talked about the way that store coupons appear to be changing — they’re going more toward a gift card look and feel.

Here is a rack of gift certificates in a convenience store.

Now, it turns out that gift cards (or gift certificates) are actually getting a facelift of their own…

Where To Find Gift Cards

Not only are gift cards readily available at virtually every store, restaurant, or entertainment venue in America. They’re even available at some places where you’d least expect to find ’em.

Did you know you can go into practically any drugstore chain (Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, etc.) and find gift cards in various denominations for literally dozens of other stores and services?

For example, at my local Walgreens, you can get a Chili’s gift certificate, a TGI Friday’s gift card, Applebee’s, Target… and dozens more.

Personalized Gift Cards

Now… it turns out that gift cards are also highly customizable.

with your own photos (more here).

with your own voice

with your own story

More about personalized photo gift cards — including the cost & profit, who’s doing it, and why.

The Downside Of Gift Cards

I recently saw a report on CBS MoneyWatch that said 27% of last year’s gift cards have not been used.

More about this interesting phenomenon:

Gift Cards Aren’t Even Cards These Days

In an attempt to speed up the process between getting the gift card and giving it, many stores are doing what online stores like Amazon and Apple iTunes have done for years. They’re making “online gift certificates” transferable via e-mail and available for spending within hours.

You select the amount. Your friend receives it via email within hours. And the recipient can shop online immediately. They’re perfect for last-minute gifts!

Some examples:

Here’s everything you want to know about the current state of gift cards, and a little about their future.