A gift card offering is a given at any large retail operation; Best Buy, Target, Amazon.com, they all offer gift cards and the same goes for larger restaurant operations like OSI Restaurant Partners. In fact, it's they type of companies where the majority of ScripSmart's efforts are directed.
However, according to an article from the LA Times, more and more small business are offering gift card programs. A gift card issued by a small business can be a great option, but there are also some downsides.
Small Business Gift Card Advantages:
- More personal - Receiving a gift card from an old friend living across the country which is redeemable at your favorite local restaurant is sure to leave you more impressed than a gift card to a national chain.
- More memorable - Small businesses occupy niche markets and their merchandise allows your recipient to purchase a gift which might be more unique and memorable. Consider the difference in merchandise a person redeeming a Walmart gift card would buy compared to the merchandise one would buy when redeeming a gift card to a local art or clothing store.
- A new experience - It's possible to find a great local business for your recipient. Consider searching a service like Yelp for a highly rated restaurant or shop in your recipients zip code and give them a small business gift card to a place they might have not have experienced otherwise.
Small Business Gift Card Disadvantages:
- More risky - Small businesses are more susceptible to going out of business which is likely to leave your recipient with a worthless piece of plastic. They also might close doors abruptly and offer no last chance for gift card redemption.
- Fewer options - Your recipient will have fewer options for redemption. For example, a gift card to a local shop might be more memorable, but if your recipient moves, it's going to be tough to redeem.
- Unfavorable Terms - The vast majority of gift cards offered by large public companies do not expire or charge post-sale fees. If a gift card is going to impose an expiration or fees, it's more likely to be a smaller operation.