Online Retailers And Gift Card Redemption

    November 30, 2007

Gift cards are expected to be popular this holiday season and online retailers who are not prepared to handle post-holiday online card redemptions risk losing customers.

"The post-holiday season, following Christmas and extending through January, is known for being an active gift card redemption period," wrote Sucharita Mulpuru of Forrester in her October 2007 report, "Outlook For US Online Retail: Holiday 2007."

"Online retailers that are ready to capture those customers will likely be able to maintain relatively strong sales, in spite of the traditional 1Q seasonal dip."

Eric Feige, general manager of Usability Sciences, has gathered data showing that ecommerce technology problems at check-out will lead to people shopping somewhere else.

"Our history of conducting quantitative user research through our Attitudinal Analytics solution has shown that many retail eCommerce sites do not easily allow consumers to use gift cards for partial or full payment," Feige said.

"Online shopping analysis showed that deficient gift card redemption support during the check-out process resulted in abandonment and was the top source of customer experience failure."

Feige said online retailers need to review online gift-card redemption processes to make sure customers have a positive post-holiday experience. "Although changes to eCommerce sites are generally locked down through the purchasing rush, retailers have an opportunity now to improve the customer experience for gift-card redemption," he said.