Gift cards designed to level the playing field for small businesses

Mobile payments company Square has added gift cards to its Australian offering in a bid to help small businesses across the country compete with larger retailers for revenue and new customers this holiday trading period.

Businesses using Square will now be able to run an integrated gift card program straight from their point of sale, allowing them to offer, redeem and track physical and eGift card sales easily in their account. Plastic cards come with basic off-the-shelf designs or can be customised to display business logos and branding.

With recent research commissioned by Square revealing that more than 80 per cent of Australian consumers now prefer to be cashless, gift cards are an easy and affordable way for small businesses to offer their customers more convenient ways to make purchases this holiday season.

Square’s Australian Country Manager and Head of APAC, Ben Pfisterer, welcomed the new product offering as a great way for small businesses to drive new business this holiday season.

“Gift cards are among the most popular gifts given in Australia, with the majority of consumers having given or received one over the past 12 months,” Pfisterer said. “We are excited to be able to offer a simple and affordable gift card program to our sellers in time to help them generate more sales during the most important trading period of the year.

“Australia’s multibillion-dollar gift card market has always been dominated by larger department stores and retailers who reap the benefits of holiday spending, which is why we are offering a solution that will even out the playing field for small businesses.”

Customers will be able to purchase and redeem gift cards either in person or online from businesses using Square. The funds from the sale are then automatically available to the business through its Square account, just like other sales.

Small-business owners have welcomed the initiative.

Jason Chongue, co-founder and director at The Plant Society, said, “Gift cards are hugely popular among customers who are looking to give their friends or family something they will love or don’t already have. Gifts are very personal, especially when it comes to something like plants, so it’s nice for people to be able to have input on what will best suit their home.

“As a small business there are many benefits to offering gift cards to our customers, especially in the lead up to Christmas, we can generate more cash flow and attract new customers to our website and introduce them to the store.”

And Nick Koa, manager at Melbourne clothing label Spacebound, said, “Gift cards are a must-have offering for retailers of all sizes, especially around peak holiday trading periods to ensure sales are not missed.

“Offering gift cards allows us to give alternative options to our customers. Often we’ll have family or friends come into the store, or jump online, and they don’t necessarily know what to buy but they know their loved one likes the brand.

“Being able to offer a gift card instead of a product means that we can still secure the sale and the customer can walk away knowing that their purchase won’t go to waste. A gift card from a smaller brand like ours also shows that there has still been a lot of time and thought put into the gift.”

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