Achilles' Heel of E-Commerce
Integrating a retailer's in-store gift card program with their website has been the Achilles' heel of e-commerce. For years, our clients have been asking us to integrate the gift card program from their point of sale (POS) system with their website. However, we've been unable to accomplish this feat with many POS systems because they simply don't offer a way to integrate with the gift cards store on their system.
Let me explain. Modern Retail communicates with many POS systems using what's called an application programming interface (API). This API allows Modern Retail and your website to send data back and forth with the POS system. If the POS system doesn't have an API for their gift card feature, then there's no way for Modern Retail to access this information and, hence, do an integration.
This is particularly true for many "on premise" POS solutions where the software is installed on a computer in your store. Communicating with these system in real-time is hard given the architecture of these systems. However, this is less of a problem for "cloud-based" POS systems where real-time communication is possible.
If you're scratching your head trying to figure out why communicating in real-time is such a big deal, let me explain with a real example. One of our clients had two stores, one across the street from the other. On more than one occasion, they had a customer use a gift card in one store and then walk across the street to the other store and use it again. This was possible because the two systems in their stores only synchronized their gift card data every hour. Nowadays, it is even worse because someone could be standing in line at your store with their smartphone placing an order online and then, just seconds later, use the same gift card to make a purchase at your store.
The only way to eliminate this fraud is by having your website gift solution communicate with your in-store program in real-time!
3rd Party Solutions to the Rescue
If your POS system does not provide an integration with gift cards, then your only option is probably to go with a 3rd party solution. These solutions allow both your website and brick and mortar store to use the same gift card system. They also provide an API, allowing Modern Retail to integrate it with your website.
Currently, Modern Retail support a 3rd party solution from TenderCard. TenderCard's gift card solution works extremely well because it comes with an API, allowing us to easily get it integrated with your website. TenderCard has a unique solution that allows multiple stores to "share" the same card, which is useful in mall settings where the mall itself issues a card for everyone's store within the mall.
Attached is a PDF document describing the integration with TenderCard and their API.
Please submit a Support Request if you have any questions about getting gift cards integrated with your website. Thank you.