Home Depot has launched a new gift card program that allows shoppers to personalize gift cards online. They can even add their own uploaded photos. The retailer expects to increase the rate of card redemption and drive more incremental sales, both online and in stores, according to Michael Homiak, director of gift card and incentive programs. “When people use our gift cards, they tend to spend more,” he said.
The new online gift card program utilizes CashStar, which provides hosted web technology that lets gift card buyers choose from several card images, or design their own card with uploaded images and text. Timed for the holiday season, the new gift card program is designed to give consumers a more personalized card experience that the retailer hopes will increase card purchases and redemptions.
Although retailers generally stand to gain financially when consumers don’t redeem gift cards they receive, Home Depot figures redeemed cards are more valuable, because they help develop customer relationships and lead to incremental sales, as card recipients typically spend more than the value of their gift card. Once a buyer chooses an image and value for the CashStar gift card, it can be emailed to recipients either immediately or at a selected future time.
The cards are not available as traditional plastic cards. Instead, recipients who receive an emailed gift card click a link in the email to log onto a CashStar hosted, Home Depot branded web page, where they can print out the card on paper. The card can be used for purchases in a Home Depot store, or the recipient can key in the card’s code number to make a purchase on www.HomeDepot.com. The CashStar gift cards are also designed so recipients can spend part of the card’s value, with the remainder stored online for future use. “We know there’s a strong consumer need for this type of card,” Homiak said. Initial response, measured through online surveys of card buyers, has been positive, he reported.