In the past few years there has been a rise in the trend of gift cards. Consumers who are either in a rush or just can’t think of what to get someone as a gift are opting for gift cards. Through what we have learned in class and with secondary research I have analyzed the effects of how gift cards affect the consumer consumption process and consumer decision making. I also looked into how the consumption process and post consumption differed from using a gift card as a form of payment to using other means such as cash.
When looking at the consumption process of a gift card there are often two consumers and therefor two consumption processes. The first consumer is the one who is purchasing the gift card to a person. The second is the consumer who received the gift card as a gift, and now has to exchange it for a product to create value for them.
For the person who is buying the gift card to give to someone else they often do it because it can be difficult to find a gift to give to someone else. When we spend money on ourselves we can use either compensatory or non-compensatory models to aid us when trying to evaluate and choose a specific product. When buying a gift we often do not know all the criteria the person we are buying the gift for has for a selection of products. Instead of just wasting money on something somebody may not want consumers can opt out of this decision making process and just buy a gift card. By doing this it is apparent that consumers will lessen their cognitive dissonance and have less feelings of doubt on the decision of the gift they choose was the right one or not.
Although the person giving the gift card may experience less cognitive dissonance, the person receiving the gift card may be dissatisfied. There are many who perceive giving gift cards as an easy way out and not very thoughtful. These people may receive little consumer satisfaction because they wanted the satisfaction to come from the thought of the gift, not the actual gift in itself. They were looking for more of a hedonic value from the actual giving of a thoughtful gift.
Once the gift card is exchanged a new consumer consumption process begins. The gift card receiver’s now basically has money that they did not have before. However this money is not cash and often times is store specific. This changes the consumption process then if the person was just buying themselves something without a gift card. Without a gift card you are paying with cash or a form of cash that is yours. You could spend this on anything but once you spend it, it’s gone so your cash flow goes negative. This makes you be a little wearier of what you are buying since you could spend your cash anywhere. When you have a gift card, you receive value, but often have to spend it at a specific location that the gift card is good at. This card may have value, but it’s not like that of cash or money in your checking account. You are forced to spend it at a specific...