For years, gift certificates have been a difficult sell for the majority of small online stores. Despite consumer-advocacy laws that now require retailers to impose no fees and that limit expirations on gift certificates and gift cards, consumers are often reminded (especially during the holidays) that a good percentage of these popular gifts are never redeemed, which lessens their appeal.
In recent years, gift certificates and cards have even become a popular trading commodity on eBay and specialty sites, sometimes selling for more than their face value.
It’s not, however, the selling-off or non-use of gift certificates that turn off most buyers. For most, they want to make sure the recipient can choose from a wide selection of products. This is why mega sites like Amazon and eBay sell hordes of gift certificates each year.
For smaller merchants, that doesn’t mean efforts to gain additional income before year’s end is worthless. It’s all about the marketing and ease of both purchase and redemption.