Alternative/emerging means of payment, such as online payments and money-off coupons, grew last year seemingly by 150%, although these remained a fraction of the total. But cash remains the dominant payment mechanism.
Cash is still the most popular form of payment in UK shops but the popularity of vouchers and coupons is on the rise, research has suggested.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) analysed 10 billion retail payments in 2012 – 60% of all UK retail sales.
Cash accounted for about 54% of all transactions, but non-cash, non-card payments rose from less than 2% to 5% of the total.
If this type of activity could be further enhanced by linking in money/spending power it would be enormously strong. Gift cards and voucher schemes, in fact many prepaid schemes, could benefit here; they know who has the money to spend and could user location based services to deliver that spending power to the retailer.
It’s incredible to think where we’ve come from. Seventy years ago the first voucher appeared on the high street in the form of a book token. Who could have predicted how the voucher and card industry would change and develop, becoming a currency for both everyday and business life, and who amongst us can predict what the future will look like for these ever-changing incentives?
Even in the past couple of years we’ve seen rapid development; the introduction of gift card centres, shops and stores; the beginning of e-vouchers and mobile phone technology, plus we’ve seen non-retailers (restaurants, experience companies) for the first time, emerge strongly into the marketplace alongside the traditional high-street retail vouchers and gift cards. Where to next – will paper totally disappear? Will new technology take over when traditional products have lost their way?
So, where is the market going? And, what will it look like in five or even 10 years time? Unfortunately none of us know all the answers to these questions and we can only begin to speculate. What I do know is that it is essential that the recipients of vouchers, e-vouchers, gift cards etc – whether they be consumers, customers or employees – get a product that they want, a product that excites, motivates and inspires them and one that is easy-to-use and flexible.
As voucher and card suppliers we need to keep this front of mind in everything we do. Ultimately, our aim is to keep the excitement and enjoyment alive and make the voucher and gift card industry buoyant for another 70 years – in whatever format that may be.
To support the opinion that you can get vouchers for anything…it appears you can now get a divorce voucher. Lloyd Platt & Company, a London law firm, are offering gift vouchers so that you can ‘gift divorce’ to a friend.
The firm’s founder, Vanessa Lloyd Platt, said she had been amazed at the response (just over 60 sales so far) to the vouchers. “They seem to appeal to an enormously widespread spectrum of people looking for that ‘must have’ gift for Christmas,” she said.
In essence of course this is little more than a sales promotion. One half hour at £125 will hardly address the needs of most prospective divorcees. A good effort by Lloyd Platt & Company as they do have people talking about them.
Amazing! I’ve just received an email today, 26 January, promoting Guitar Break gift vouchers for the perfect Christmas gift. That’s nearly a full 11 months before next Christmas.
Guitar Break gift vouchers are now available to buy through the website or over the phone. They are perfect for Christmas or Birthdays and are redeemable against any Guitar Break event or related product…
Perhaps it was a couple of months late. Either way, I can’t help thinking this is not the best use of Guitar Break’s marketing effort.
“Kevin Harrington, research and development director at Sodexo Pass – the company behind SayShopping vouchers and SayMotivation Pass – looks to the future of vouchers and gift cards.” – Sales Promotion.