Gift cards are a front-of-mind gift-giving option for a vast number of U.S. consumers. The gift card market is worth more than $160 billion and it has been growing by double-digit margins since 2015 – and gift card purchases have been a means of paying restaurants forward during the pandemic. But according to a new study from Incisiv, restaurants are still leaning on old-school tactics when it comes to managing their gift card sales instead of harnessing the data-driven power they can offer. By better connecting gift cards to loyalty programs, restaurants can capitalize on the special occasions that inspire guests to use these cards – occasions that happen to be predisposed to generating feelings of loyalty. The study advises restaurants fine-tune their approach to gift cards in four areas: First, make gift cards a more frictionless experience for guest and employee alike. That means considering such actions as how to minimize the steps/people involved in processing a transaction, or if you can add a gift card balance to a third-party wallet or loyalty account, for example. Second, make it possible to purchase, transfer, redeem and reload gift cards across all of your purchasing channels. Third, make it more personal – like so much of the experience of dining out, customization of restaurant gift cards helps drive loyalty. Do you offer a range of designs for a range of occasions? Sample messages? Can a giver include a special video message or photo? Finally, make recommendations. Suggesting products based on the occasion and the recipient can help you upsell your cards, as well as generate data that can improve your ability to segment and target your customer base going forward.
So many of our payments have become contactless in the past year – and businesses have felt the need to offer card-not-present payment options in an effort to maintain safety, enable off-premise food purchases and promote customer convenience. But as card-not-present transactions have climbed alongside food delivery orders in the past year, so have the opportunities for fraud. Research from Aite Group forecasts a 16.4 percent increase in card-not-present fraud this year. This fraud can hit restaurants with chargebacks that are difficult to dispute, but fortunately there are steps restaurants can take to help detect and prevent fraud. Overall, it’s about identifying patterns about your customers – who they are, how they are ordering, are and how they are finding you. Machine learning tools can help you identify what good customers look like – then flag those that look risky. For example, an order placed from a city other than the one listed as the delivery destination might raise a red flag for a restaurant business. ATM Marketplace advises having a fraud-protection provider that helps screen every transaction – and it’s important for the restaurant to partner with them to ensure the system is adaptable to the business. In a recent webinar entitled “How to Protect your Restaurant from Online Scammers,” Brittany Allen, Trust & Safety Architect at Sift, advised restaurants to use fraud detection systems that provide an activity log that lets them view a customer’s session history, and which use a single dashboard that eliminates the need to jump from tool to tool. Beyond that, Allen said a restaurant operator should know how different fraud alerts rank for their business – and what kinds of fraud similar businesses are facing. Finally, a system should allow you to take action somehow, whether to flag a suspicious transaction for further review or to stop a transaction from occurring.