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gift cards…gift, chore, and float heaven for retailers:

Fresh from a nice holiday break, I sit here on a tilt…my wallet is
stuffed full of gift cards I received this past holiday. Now don’t get
me wrong, I do enjoy gift cards. I’ve found that the more popular and
acceptable gift cards become, the less gifts I receive that I dread
returning or never remove from the box. That’s a good thing, because I
do use my gift cards, and I enjoy giving them. Apparently so do a lot of other people. The gift card business is booming, and so is the amount of money locked in unused gift cards.


I recall in one of my marketing classes at OSU hearing that in some
states, retailers are unable to “collect” on unused gift card funds,
and instead after a certain period of time they are required to put
that money into some sort of unclaimed funds account. That seems like
a major headache for retailers, but when you think about the incredible
amount of cash that these retailers get to play with you can hardly
feel bad for them. Can you imagine people paying you a bunch of money
in exchange for something later on. You’d be awash with cash, and if
you managed the money wisely, you’d really add to your bottom line.

I’m just curious about opportunities in this obviously booming space.
Why aren’t general gift cards more popular? Are they too much like
cash? Maybe a nicely marketed MasterCard gift card could do really
well. What about a website that would let the gift receiver pick where
their gift card is from? Why even bother with the cards? What about
all email gift certificates? Or what about text messaging gift

There’s a lot of opportunity here, it’s worth checking out. Thoughts?

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