Gift cards can be one of the most profitable items a Coffee Shop or Café can offer. Here are some of the various questions that any Coffee Shop or Café owner should ask when implementing a system to their store.
Where fees are there? Hopefully, there are no swipe fees or monthly fees. When fess are added to a gift or prepaid card, the program becomes as costly as a credit card to the retailer. If there are fees, what are they? Are they charged per load, per purchase? Is there a charge on the inquiry? Paying $.10 to $.25 a swipe for someone to check a balance can hurt the retailer’s bottom line.
Where do I get cards? Based on national averages of the Coffee industry, the average coffee shop goes through 1,000 cards a year. It’s important to make sure that the retailer can purchase cards from their provider at a rate that is in line with the rest of the industry. Some providers force the retailer to purchase cards at two or three times the regular rate. Retailers want to insure that the cards they purchase are custom cards with a full color front and back.
Can customers tip on the gift card? Tipping is extremely important to the baristas that work at a coffee shop or café. The system that is used should be able to take tips as well. Employees can be resistant to using a gift card system that reduces their opportunity to receive tips. Being able to tip is also something that customers like. Don’t make your customers feel guilty that they can’t tip an employee because they use the card.
Does the card system allow split payments? In other words, does the system allow for an easy way to use a partial payment? Customers want to be able to use whatever money is left on a card. Being able to pay with gift cards and cash or credit cards make it convenient.
Is it a gift and loyalty card? Even if you don’t plan on implementing a loyalty or rewards system currently, you want to make sure that the system is capable of handling it. Being able to have the same card act as both gift and loyalty is important. Customers certainly don’t want to carry two cards around. Also, make sure you know what loyalty systems are possible. Buy 10 Get 1 free? Every dollar spent is a point? Percentage back?
Will it work across multiple locations? While you may not be a multi store operator now, it does not hurt to think like one. Being able to have customers easily use their gift cards across your locations is important. If you are thinking about franchising in the future, then you need to know if your system can accommodate corporate pooling of gift cards.
Mike Spence is the President of SelbySoft, Inc. A point of sale provider to the coffee, cafe and pizza industries. For the last 20 years, Mike and SelbySoft have helped thousands retailers use gift and prepaid systems to increase their bottom line, reduce theft and retain customers through proven point of sale and gift card systems.