I was reflecting on when my children were younger and we watched Disney movies almost religiously. One of their favorites was The Little Mermaid. It was not uncommon for my daughters to run around the house (well…walk briskly) singing at the top of their lungs the classic from Ariel “I want to be where the people are”.
Isn’t that true for businesses also? Don’t they want to be where the people are? Think of Starbucks…it seems to me as I drive to work each day that I pass 3 or 4 Starbucks locations. They are EVERYWHERE. I assumed that is because they want to be where the people are!
Of course, they have a gift card program and I am confident they generate a ton of business through Starbucks gift cards. Yet, as omnipresent as they seem to be, they still have their gift card on the gift card racks at most major grocery stores. Why? They want to be where the people are!
So…what is a local business to do? A local business is not EVERYWHERE like Starbucks is, so people are not going to just drop in and get a gift card. They are not at the grocery store. How are they going to be where the people are? One word: ONLINE!
People increasingly are buying gift cards online. They go to a business’ website looking to see if they can purchase a gift certificate or card without having to drive there…because that is inconvenient. They go to GiftCards.com and other sites looking to buy quickly. A local business, if they want to grow, needs to be where the people shop and that is the Internet.
GiftCards.com has recently launched a program focused on helping local businesses do just that…have a gift card that can be purchased from their website and from GiftCards.com without requiring the business to change out any Point of Sale technology or to commit to volumes.
And…just in time for the holidays when it is estimated that $40B of the $100B spent on gift cards annually will be spent. Following the Disney theme, in the classic Beauty and the Beast, the character Gaston sings a song “Be Prepared”.
That is what a local business needs to do this holiday season. Be prepared…by Being Where the People Are. Online. At their website…and GiftCards.com!
~~ Steve Dimmitt, former CRO for GiftCards.com