Retail chains adopt prepaid cards to retain customers

Prepaid cards have become the latest retail tool to keep consumers hooked to brands. They offer convenience and safety, because customers don’t have to carry cash, and they often come with a variety of offers, including discounts.

Brands like Café Coffee Day, Pizza Hut, Provogue, Kaya, Fastrack, Gili and a host of others have launched prepaid cards. A prepaid card works like a debit card with a PIN number that can be redeemed at the brands’ outlets. The cards in India are based on the closed loop model — that is, they can be redeemed only at the brand’s stores. “When I have money loaded on the card, the tendency to come to the same place is higher,” says K Ramakrishnan, marketing president at Cafe Coffee Day. The brand’s card Cafe Moments, launched this month, offers a 5% bonus on cards with a value of Rs 100 to Rs 499, 7% on Rs 500 to Rs 999 and 10% on Rs 1,000 and above.

A prepaid card obviates the need to pay cash every time, and it also enables faster accumulation of bonus points or other offers. Prepaid cards in India are currently being used more as gift cards. Some brands have used it to launch a promotion or a service. What the prepaid gift card did for Kaya was to generate incremental walk-ins,” says Suvodeep Das, marketing head at Kaya Skin Clinic. In Kaya prepaid cards, currency can be reloaded in multiples of Rs 500 to up to Rs 2 lakh. Kaya sells about 250-300 gift cards a month.

Global Prepaid Exchange recently estimated that the size of the organized prepaid gift card and gift voucher market in India is Rs 2,000 crore and would grow to Rs 8,000 crore by 2015. “The acceptance of gift cards in proportion to vouchers has increased significantly,” says Pratap T P, chief marketing officer at QwikCilver Solutions, a provider of prepaid card solutions.

However, Devangshu Dutta, CEO of retail consultancy Third Eyesight, says growth in prepaid cards would be restricted by the fact that they can be used only at a particular brand’s outlets. “Also, a customer cannot claim the minimum residual value in the card. He will have to top it up to redeem it,” he says.


Spartan’s Glen’s Banner Bows Concept Store.

Spartan Stores’ Glen’s Markets banner has opened a new 38,000-square-foot concept store at the southeast corner of US-31 and 12th Street in Filer Township, Mich. The store will serve as the prototype for future Glen’s locations. The store is the first ground-up Glen’s location in seven years, according to Spartan

Featuring even more products and services, the new supermarket offers a full-service pharmacy with a convenient drive-up window, and a new Quick Stop fuel and convenience center featuring the latest technology to enable customers to redeem promotional offers right at the pump.

Boasting an expanded meat department offering select cuts of meat with preparation and cooking tips daily; fresh seafood; more than 600 produce items; and a full-service deli offering a complete selection of salads, premium deli meats, a wide variety of domestic and imported cheeses, and a wide to-go assortment of quick and easy hot lunches and dinners. The store also packs a full selection of Spartan brand products; a fresh floral department offering fresh-cut flower bouquets, potted plants and balloons; and energy-efficient lighting and heating equipment, among other eco-friendly features.

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Spartan Stores’ Glen’s Markets has 34 locations throughout northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, including locations in Munising, Sault Ste. Marie, Traverse City, Petoskey, Cadillac, Cheboygan, West Branch, Gaylord, Midland and Houghton Lake.


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