Gearing Up for the Holiday Demand for Gift Cards

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The demand for gift cards is exploding according to CNN/Money, and retailers of all sorts -- gas stations, restaurants, hair salons, and many more -- are looking to cash in on the $45 billion gift card business. This demand is fueled in part by busy holiday shoppers, who value the one-stop-shopping convenience of gift cards. According to a recent holiday spending survey from the National Retail Federation, gift cards ranked as the third most desirable category on consumers' wish lists after CDs/DVDs and clothing. Gift card sales reached about $20 billion in 2004, accounting for just less than half of annual sales, and the percentage is expected to increase considerably this year, as reported by CNN/Money.

"With only a few weeks until Thanksgiving, we want to be sure Book Sense Gift Card participants are ready for the holiday rush," said ABA's Director of Marketing Jill Perlstein. To help booksellers prepare, she offers these suggestions:

  • If you have less than 100 cards, consider ordering more gift cards today. You don't want to be caught short this holiday season.

  • If you plan to reuse cards, be sure your staff knows how to increment them.

  • Review the program's backup systems with your staff. For stores that use integrated POS or terminals, set up the, just in case you encounter problems. Every bookstore has access to IVR (the telephone backup system). Check out this quick guide.

  • Consider using the bulk or loose activation tool on to get ready for a busy sales day.

  • Print out the latest list of participating stores (PDF) and keep it by cash registers. If your customers are looking for other participating gift card locations, suggest they call 1-888-BookSense or visit

  • Make sure staff is familiar with the variety of cards in the marketplace. Book Sense Gift Cards never expire or lose value, so it is possible that you may be presented with any one of 22 designs. In addition, all cards potentially could have store information imprinted on the front or stickers that identify the selling store. To confirm if a card is a Book Sense Gift Card, look on the back for the Book Sense logo and the "Powered by Givex" logo.

  • Don't miss out on the special, limited edition Dungeons & Dragons cards, which make perfect gifts for teens. Wizards of the Coast has paid for the card, the matching presenter, and the transaction fee! You pay to add your store information (if desired) and for shipping and handling. For specific information on this offer, click here.

  • Remember, Givex offers 24-hour customer service to handle Book Sense Gift Card technical issues. Call (800) 962-4935 during business hours 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. Call (800) 265-8212 after business hours. If you lose your ID and password or have general questions, send an e-mail to [email protected]. For security purposes, passwords will not be given out by telephone.