Gift cards can be one of the most profitable items a cafe or coffee shop can offer. These are some of the various questions that any coffee shop or coffee shop owner should ask themselves when implementing a system in their shop.

Where are there fees? Hopefully, there are no slip fees or monthly fees. When fees are added to a prepaid or gift card, the program becomes as expensive as a credit card for the retailer. If there are fees, what are they? Do they charge per load, per purchase? Is there a charge for the consultation? Paying $.10 to $.25 to have someone check the balance can hurt a retailer’s bottom line.

Where do I get the cards? Based on national averages for the coffee industry, the average coffee shop goes through 1,000 cards a year. It is important to ensure that the retailer can purchase cards from their provider at a price consistent with the rest of the industry. Some providers force the retailer to buy cards at double or triple the normal rate. Retailers want to make sure the cards they buy are personalized cards with full color front and back.

Can customers tip on the gift card? Tips are extremely important for baristas who work in a coffee shop or cafe. The system that is used must be able to take tips as well. Employees may resist 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 about not being able to tip an employee because they use the card.

Does the card system allow installment payments? In other words, does the system allow for an easy way to use a partial payment? Customers want to be able to use the money left on a card. Being able to pay with gift cards and cash or credit cards makes it convenient.

Is it a gift and loyalty card? Even if you don’t currently plan to implement a loyalty or rewards system, you want to make sure the system is capable of handling it. It is important that the same card acts as a gift and as loyalty. Customers certainly don’t want to carry two cards. Also, make sure you know what loyalty schemes are possible. Buy 10 get 1 free? Is every dollar spent a point? Return percentage?

Will it work in multiple locations? While you may not be a multi-store operator now, it doesn’t hurt to think like one. It’s important to be able to easily make it easy for customers to use their gift cards at all of your locations. If you’re thinking of franchising in the future, then you need to know if your system can support corporate bundling of gift cards.

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