Retail chains plan gift cards to spur sales

Written by Mona Mehta | Mumbai | Updated: Sep 18 2009, 05:39am hrs
Taking a cue from the US market, retail chains in the country have chalked out innovative strategies to ensure sales they are planning to issue gift cards or electronic swipe cards to woo customers.

This comes in the wake of a 12% to 15% growth revival in the sector during the first and the second quarters of financial year 2009-10.

The gift card trend is expected to pick up as retail biggies are keen to implement this new initiative within their branded retail stores, hypermarkets and specialty stores. Currently, Manipal-based MCT Card and Technology Private Ltd, Mumbai-based CMS Infosystems Ltd, Hyderabad-based Bartronics India Ltd are some smart card manufacturers in talks with the retail biggies for electronics gift cards.

Kishore Biyani, founder and chief executive officer of Future Group told FE, Our research and development team is currently evaluating the issue and is open to such revolutionary innovative marketing strategies to sell gift cards to customers.

Raghu Pillai, president and chief executive, operations and strategy, Reliance Retail, said, Providing gift cards to customers means making customers loyal to the brand and retaining footfalls along with assured sales conversion. This trend would suit the current market scenario which will increase use of branded products.

On the new gift card trend, Nisarug Doshi, managing director, Maze Cards India, said, Gift cards are basically needed when customers visiting any retail outlet are not able to decide on what to gift their family members and friends. When the Indian economy was reeling under a slowdown during the third and the fourth quarter of the financial year 2008-09, organised retail players refrained from spending on loyalty programs. But with signs of revival witnessed in the sector, many branded retail biggies have started inquiring about gift cards.