The CHIPOTLE GIFT CARD Mystery Revealed

Gift cards continue steadily to grow leaps and bounds allowing retailers that have implemented a program because of their stores to reap vast benefits. Chipotle Gift Card Balance Actually, total spending on gift cards in 2012 nearly reached $30 billion with around two-thirds of all American consumers having purchased at least one gift card.

It is mainstream and it’s really not for the holidays anymore. While nearly 2/3rds of most consumers have purchased gift cards for someone around the holidays, over 80% of most consumers have purchased something special card as a birthday gift. No longer should retailers simply depend on the holidays because of their sales – though sales at this time are concentrated – the sales can be found throughout the year.

Gift cards are convenient, secure, and become a branded “billboard in a wallet”. In multi-unit retail outlets, they keep carefully the money within the store network sufficient reason for gift cards, retailers will gain more name recognition and exposure in the marketplace, further widening its existing customer base. To further the case, it’s not simply for the brand awareness, it adds to the top line because the average gift card user eventually ends up spending an extra 20% beyond the value of the card.

Why Gift Cards? Some retailers may still use punch cards or paper certificates even though these programs may have advanced their loyalty program to date, plastic gift cards outsells paper certificates from 2 to 10 times as much. The electronic concept has become the medium of choice for retailers and merchants in the united states. On the list of significant reasons are:

No Cash Back – the value remaining after partial redemption stays on the card ensuring additional opportunities to solidify the guest relationship.
Real Time Processing – virtually eliminates both losses connected with paper gift certificates and costly tracking and accounting.
Offering a gift card is quite similar to supplying a new product item – and never have to learn complicated handling procedures, training procedures, and tie up valuable space for storage. It will help gain clients – friends or associates of one’s existing customers – and the card program should be viewed as a revenue generator.

Logistics: A processing terminal is needed to run the gift card program. Usually your credit card company can help you choose a terminal that will fit the bill and budget. Most gift cards use a host-based computer system to store the worthiness of the cards as they are sold and redeemed. Simply load and redeem the cards with a charge card terminal that accesses the host computer. This host-based system enables the gift card to be sold and redeemed at all participating locations (if applicable for multi-unit operations). Here is generally how it works:

Activation
Consumer purchases the gift card for any amount using cash or charge card – the clerk executes the sale via normal payment procedures on the register
Quantity of the “gift value” is loaded and stored on the host database by swiping a magnetic strip card through a credit card terminal
Customer receipt shows balance on card – updated in real time
The card could be reloaded and may be utilized multiple times

Redemption
Swiped through charge card terminal for host authorization
No cash return – customer receipt shows real-time card balance
Pooling: For multi-unit operations, as your cards are redeemed within other participating stores along with other stores’ cards are redeemed inside your store, the redemption amount is transferred at a specified time electronically. This is called pooling. All transactions are accounted for electronically in the database and activity reports. All pooling activity is documented, itemized by card with an overall summary and redemption amounts are transferred between locations via the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network from each location. The ACH network may be the same system banks use to move money as regulated by the Federal Reserve. All activity is recorded electronically on the terminal and host computer as time passes and date stamp for audit purposes. A terminal gift card batch report itemizes transactions for reconciliation.
Marketing & Merchandising: With suggestive selling and merchandising, the gift card will generate additional revenue. The demand is strong year-round, especially at the different holiday times over summer and winter. Birthdays are the most popular reason to buy something special card – every day is someone’s birthday! Similar to activation, the cardholder can purchase additional value or “reload” the card for any amount at any participating location. That is ideal for regular guests. The gift card could also be used internally for credits. For instance, in lieu of cash back on a purchase return or perhaps a customer complaint, you can issue a card for the value of the credit. This keeps the purchase money in the retailers network.

Loyalty Programs: A loyalty card program uses exactly the same host-based computer system to store the value of the loyalty cards because the gift card. It is possible to load and redeem the cards via a credit card terminal similar to the gift card with the only real difference being that you can only add/redeem points to a loyalty card, not dollars. Much like the gift card, the loyalty card earns points and is redeemable at all participating locations. A typical loyalty program works something like this:

Enrollment – Consumer enrolls by completing a loyalty application.
Staff reviews for eligibility and ensures the loyalty card number is recorded on the application.
Consumers will earn X point per $ spent when they initially enroll and ongoing.