Eddie Bauer, Walgreens, Costco Top Gift Card Bad Boys List
The weakest gift card retailers, according to a report from Retail System Research published Aug. 23 that gave them each zero points, include Eddie Bauer, Costco, Walgreens, and Advance Auto Parts as well as quite a few quick-service restaurant chains, including McDonald’s, Denny’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, KFC and Chick-Fil-A. Of the 100 largest merchants examined, 19 chains merited that goose-egg score, the report said.
To earn that dishonor, chains had to make gift cards difficult to find, a low priority in check-out, have a lack of gift card integration, fail to support using a large number of gift cards simultaneously, and not offer a way to use payment card loyalty points to purchase gift cards.
Other no-nos including suggesting that gift card buyers need to be 21 years old or older and promoting irrelevant offers via popup windows during the gift card buying process.
The top performers were: Sephora, Starbucks, The Home Depot, Dunkin’ Donuts and Amazon. According to RSR, the top traits of those top performers include:
- Making digital gift cards easy to find, most often through a persistent offering, like a menu item, on the home page of the website
- Supporting bulk purchase of gift cards
- Offering a digital gifting experience optimized for their mobile app
- Providing a wide range of denomination options
- Offering a full range of payment options, including alternative forms of payment like PayPal or a private label credit card
- Delivering a digital gift card quickly and on time according to what was promised.
The report also listed 19 retailers and brands that scored zero points on the 100-point scale, making up the losers. The specific mistakes were not broken down by company but RSR did provide general details about what makes those companies losers in the digital gift card space. Besides the points listed above, those mistakes include “confusing messages” (such as unclear minimum purchase requirements); “mobile hiccups” (for example, not being able to send a card via SMS despite assurances to the contrary); and not keeping customers abreast of when cards would be delivered (not all digital cards are delivered instantaneously).
On the positive side, the RSR report also found that 29 retailers “allowed buyers to purchase gift cards with the loyalty points accrued on their major credit cards. As it turns out, 29 retailers offered the option—22 via Discover’s loyalty program, nine via American Express’s program, and two allowed both.”