New Gift Voucher System – Buy or Build?
If you’re thinking about selling gift vouchers for your business, your first challenge is to investigate the best way forward. There are options ranging from pre-printing codes on paper vouchers – to a digital solution where customers can buy a variety of gift experiences from your website. Here we look into whether it might be better to subscribe to a gift voucher system or have your own software developed.
While you could start off with an entirely manual process, this really isn’t a great way to go for a multitude of reasons. (Poor security, requires a lot of staff resource to deal with orders, difficulties in tracking and managing redemptions, voucher printing costs etc … etc.)
Your web developer may enthusiastically say that he/she can create an online shop for you. This sounds a bit more like it, but is it the best way forward, particularly if they don’t have expertise in writing software to sell and manage gift vouchers?
Would it be better to install a specially-designed system like One Tree, which is ready use immediately, try to shoe-horn your needs into a standard online shop, or have bespoke software built?
Which route will you take?
The first consideration is, ‘When do I need this by? If you are planning a re-vamp of your whole IT system, then you may have factored in several months to achieve your goals and building a bespoke system is feasible. In addition, you may feel that you have found a software house with the right expertise for your project.
Software or web development is never cheap. Developers charge anything upwards of £400 per day and if the project is under-specified or over-promised you can blow the budget before you know it. Developers may also be keen to say that they can implement your plan, but then subcontract the work which takes the development further out of your control. A clearly written specification will help to prevent any disappointments on delivery!
So the first job is to produce a thorough business requirements document. A systems analyst then translates your needs into a technical spec to make sure you get what you want. Not only do you need to manage the development process, but must also be confident you can identify all your requirements from issuing vouchers to reporting.
Technology also doesn’t stand still – the rate of change is sometimes quite frightening. You’ll need to factor in regular software maintenance costs to keep your gift voucher system current with the latest updates.
For a large organisation with specialist needs, there are instances where bespoke systems may bring you advantages. A ready-to-use subscription service may deliver over 90% of what you need for the same cost, however, and you can always enquire whether it can be modified to meet additional needs.
Gift Voucher System
Much more than an online shop
Beyond the voucher shop on your website, the One Tree Gift Voucher System provides you with comprehensive tracking and reporting of the life cycle of every voucher. With access to the secure management portal you’ll know in real time whether a voucher is valid, redeemed or expired. So there’s no chance that a voucher can be used twice after it has expired, thereby increasing security. Comprehensive reporting is also available, keeping accountants and managers happy.
Importantly, all email voucher purchases go out automatically and we also handle all the postal vouchers on your behalf. With around 70% of customers choosing an email delivery option or paying for postal delivery, all bases are covered. You’ll have no increase in staff costs to deal with sending out vouchers at busy times, such as during the Christmas rush.
We provide free, personalised training for you and your staff on set up and whenever needed after that. If you, or your customers have any queries at any point, we are on hand with phone and email support to resolve issues.
Finally, we eat, drink and breathe vouchers (unlike your web developer!) and provide you with regular updates with hints, tips and resources to help you to grow your gift voucher business.
Online shop designed for gift vouchers
The One Tree online shop has been especially designed to handle gift vouchers. This means that you can add gift experiences as well as monetary values, which you may not be able to do with a simple online ordering product such as PayPal. Offering gift experiences means that you can package popular services which gift buyers will find very attractive. The shop is easily installed on your website and branded to match.
Low cost and low risk
One of the main advantages of subscribing to a system like One Tree is that it requires minimal capital outlay and therefore represents a lower business risk to you.
We don’t charge a set up fee
Set up includes:
- Customised voucher designs
- Writing copy
- Advising you on which gifts are likely to sell
- Helping you with all aspects of the installation
…. and it’s all free.
Admittedly, there is a on-going subscription, but this is charged as a low commission rate on revenue, so you’ll only pay when sales are made. Non-redemption rates generally far outweigh the operating costs. Because we operate on commission only basis, we’re also motivated to work in partnership with you to increase sales.
Speed of Installation
An off-the-shelf package is just that – prepared and ready to go. You’ll have to invest some time in liaising with us on the customisation and get everything up and running, but this pales into insignificance compared to the time and financial investment needed for writing the spec and maintaining your own software.
Installation and training will take up some of your time, but you’ll be looking at hours, rather than months. If a business need for gift vouchers has been identified, the quicker you can address it, the sooner you’ll generate new revenue and save staff time.
Our software is developed to work in different scenarios, on different devices and is tested across the board.
Focusing on our products, following all the latest trends and issuing new releases of the software is what we do – month in, month out. Bespoke software requires you keeping track of changing requirements and requesting upgrades as needed.
We also welcome feedback from our clients and can implement changes where requested.
Naturally though, everything has a downside. An off-the-shelf package may not deliver 100% of your requirements and you may decide that the bespoke route is the best option for your organisation.
Louise Callan, Marketing Director, One Tree. If you would like to find out more about how an online gift voucher service would benefit your business, please feel free to send an email or call us on 01761 472911.