CommercialWare Ships Software for Managing Gift Cards
Published: January 3, 2006
It might not have been delivered in time for the Christmas shopping blitz, but CommercialWare's new multi-channel gift card offering will still be able to ride the current gift-card trend for years to come. In mid-December the New England software developer unveiled CWValueCard, a new offering that enables retailers to offer their customers an instantly redeemable card across every retail channel, including catalog, Web, and retail shopping experiences.
The software, which integrates with CommercialWare's flagship OS/400-based multi-channel merchandising system, CWDirect, as well as a Windows-based POS offering called CWStore, handles the entire lifecycle of a gift card transaction, from purchasing and activating physical or virtual cards, to reductions, refunds, balance checks, and looking up historical activity.
While the software didn't become available until January 1, that didn't prevent the product from getting a holiday workout at JensonUSA, a mountain bike retailer that was an early CWValueCard adopter. "We were able to roll out the CWValueCard solution within 48 hours and are already seeing results with this holiday season," said Mike Cachat, president and CEO of the company. "Our customers are distributed nationally and use our on-line channel extensively. The ability to offer a virtual card delivers the instant gratification they are seeking."
The timing of the new offering looks good. The use of gift cards has risen in the last couple of years, and nationwide, gift card spending was expected to hit $18.5 billion in holiday sales in 2005, out of a total of $439.5 billion in total holiday sales, according to National Retail Federation predictions. An industry survey from TowerGroup found gift-card spending for 2005 rose about 8 percent to $55.5 billion for the entire year.