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The Impact of Third Party Distribution Channels


What is third party distribution?

You have seen third party distribution when you’ve walked past the gift card displays at your grocery or pharmacy but may not know it by name. Third party is a common term in the B2B Gift Card Industry. It’s the opportunity to sell gift cards in retail locations that are independent of the brand represented on the gift card. By definition, third party sales refer to the three companies involved when selling to the consumer: the brand on the gift card, the company that sells the gift card, and the company that manages the operational component of the transaction. For most gift cards programs, third party represents their largest sales channel and the greatest opportunity for consumer awareness and marketing. Why’s this? Consumer traffic!

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Ensure Your Third-Party Gift Cards are Properly Merchandised and in Stock

The third-party gift card segment has consistently been one of the fastest growing gift card distribution channels for the last seven years. Third-party can easily be your largest sales channel outside of your own stores. Actively engaging in third-party sales can increase your brand footprint, reaching consumers that may have not known about your brand otherwise. Having ongoing, frequent dialogue with your third-party aggregator is key to understanding what exactly their retail partners are doing to drive your gift card sales. The aggregators provide you with access to your sales, but do you know why your sales may be trending up or down? Ensuring that your third-party gift cards are properly merchandised and in stock is one of the most critical components to why your sales may be trending positively or negatively. If your gift card is not available when a customer wants to buy it, you have a lost a sale and a visit to your establishment. Here is a list of additional questions to consider when analyzing your third-party program:

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[Infographic] Are Competitors Cannibalizing Gift Card Sales?

When it comes to gift card sales, the third party business plays a big part in the gift card industry. It offers huge buying potential for retailers and merchants when it comes to brand exposure. You’re able to get your gift cards in front of people who may not go into their stores and also makes the choice for a last minute gift even easier. Another important concept, just because your brand isn’t in the third party market doesn’t mean your competitors aren’t. The benefits of third-party gift card programs include increasing brand exposure, revenue, and customers. Selling your gift cards in a gift card mall can increase your distribution network by thousands of locations. If your gift cards are not currently in a third-party program you are losing valuable sales and customers that may be buying from your competitors who are already active in third-party programs.

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