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Reaping the benefits of online gift vouchers

By Retail Technology | Friday May 24 2013

Online payments expert Justin Fraser says online retailers like La Tasca should learn from their offline competition by offering gift vouchers, but also warns to beware the security pitfalls

While the High Street has suffered in recent years, e-commerce platforms continue to thrive. The online retail sector is now one of continuous and rapid growth, with consumers becoming more comfortable with the concept of buying online and more retailers turning to the internet to reduce costs whilst boosting sales and increasing profit margins.

However, Justin Fraser, sales and marketing director at internet payment gateway provider SecureTrading said the growth in the global e-commerce market has brought tough competition, as sites strive to capture the attention and custom of online users. It is therefore vital to the success of an e-tailer that they are imaginative and innovative in order to differentiate themselves from the opposition and grow their customer base he said.

Although the online sector may be leaving the High Street in its wake, Fraser said e-retailers can still learn a lot from their physical counterparts by exploiting their ideas. One example of this is through the sale of gift vouchers.

Extending gifting capabilities online

Many e-commerce sites are already adopting the use of online gift vouchers with great success, allowing them to expand their target audience and boost sales, while reducing labour and printing costs, with minimal effort, he claimed.

A prime example of an e-tailer benefiting from the sale of online gift vouchers is the restaurant and bar chain La Tasca, which has recently begun to offer a bespoke range of online gift vouchers to its customers.” La Tasca’s website now enables customers to purchase personalised vouchers that are either printed and posted or delivered via email to the recipient in the form of an e-voucher. 

“With this programme, La Tasca has increased its level of customer care and consequently expanded its customer base, while differentiating itself from other competitors,” reported Fraser. “This activity has also boosted the brand’s reputation and even led to an increase in revenue since introduction.”

He said the La Tasca example outlines the benefits perfectly: These vouchers, if deployed correctly, provide a way of boosting income and brand awareness for e-commerce providers wishing to stay ahead of the game.

Safeguarding e-voucher investments

So online gift vouchers can be an adaptable and scalable system that allows e-tailers to change their promotions with differing seasons, celebrations and events. They are also readily accessible and convenient for customers, as they can be accessed through multiple internet-enabled channels, including online, mobile and via social media increasing their reach, popularity and profitability for the e-tailer.

But the payments experts endorsement also comes with a warning: Customer safety must be kept front of mind at all times, he said. Therefore, in order to fully benefit, e-tailers need to ensure that security measures are embedded into every level of the purchasing procedure.In fact, he said that adding extra purchasing options heightens the need for a secure system further.

E-tailers need to be forward thinking and fully embrace different ideas and innovations if they are to stay ahead in the competitive world of online retail, he said. But, as with all aspects of e-commerce, security is the fundamental measure that must underpin any programme or offering, in order to protect the customer and ensure that new ideas and schemes such as these vouchers are as effective as possible.

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