Various Gift Cards in a Pile

It’s A Gift Card Kinda Party

Hooray, 2018 is here!

2017 feels like it went quicker than a Scaramucci tour in the White House. Even though retrospective perception of time seems like a flash of light, that doesn’t mean much did not occur. The retail world is a constant day after day battle of retaining customers, attracting new and staying ahead of competition. It takes a conscious effort to take a look back at events, accomplishments and glance ahead, so here is a 500-word 3-minute snapshot.

We all got our You Know What’s handed to us over the last couple years by EMV (Europay, MasterCard & Visa), yep those little chips embedded in credit/debit cards. Thanks to the EMV compliance mandate thousands of businesses suffered losses from the shift in fraud liability.

What happens is repugnant no-good swindling victimizers take stolen credit cards or card information and purchase as many gift cards as possible. Why gift cards? Because they are a form of currency, and are basically cash. By the time a card owner realizes they have become a casualty, the thief already has untraceable funds. Card owners dispute the transactions absolving them, leaving a non-EMV compliant storeowner burdened with the debt from those gift card activations.

Well I’m happy to say that the majority of retail is now EMV compliant and those retailers are no longer the liable party in fraud cases. This is great news for that little 140 Billion dollar profit center in your store…Yes Gift Cards are a 140 billion dollar industry.

Being certified EMV compliant means a retailer can get back to stacking cash from gift card sales like the good ol’ days! Fear caused many retailers to implement a “Cash Only” policy for gift card purchases. Subsequently gift card sales plummeted…BECAUSE NOBODY CARRIES CASH! Now thanks to hard work and lots of patience those policies can be “So Last Year”.

Also in 2017 AWG distributed a highly regarded manuscript outlining gift card fraud and best practices in retail. It’s been nominated for many prestigious awards, all of which have never been heard of by anyone.

In effort to limit losses even more we employed the Loss Prevention Application (LPA). This tool puts the kibosh on large transactions over $550 within a 15-minute period. We all know those sons of motherless goat fraudsters want the big payday and will go large. Legit customers needing more than that shouldn’t mind waiting a couple extra minutes for the cycle to reboot, but a snake belly criminal will be anxious and hightail it…loss prevented.

Looking ahead to 2018 we anticipate a great year for gift card sales and have already seen an uptick of 9.5% in the first 3 weeks. We also look forward to evolutions in the gift card industry, making gift card selling and buying more convenient and secure. Gift card options are growing into lottery. There will be choice cards where consumers can choose between several unaffiliated options within a category like dinning, entertainment and travel. We will also have more in-depth newsletters and blog posts littered with terrible jokes and comedic metaphors.

Also stay tuned for promotions, shippers, packaging, etc.; 2018 to be continued…

Why do I work at AWG? “Having grown up locally, my second job as a teenager was actually at Price Chopper on 78th and State Ave., also throughout the years I have known many family and friends that have worked, or are still employed with AWG. Given all my exposure to AWG I have seen a stable, growing, company that cares about it’s employees. The qualities which I hold highest from an employer.” -Bryan