Company Stores 101: Giving Customers Money to Spend

If you’ve ever been given a gift card for your birthday, you’re familiar with the concept of “stored value”. Gift cards (or “stored value” or “retained value” cards as they’re sometimes known in the retail industry) are just one way to give customers a limited amount of money to spend at a store or restaurant.

While your storeBlox CS company store can process normal credit card transactions, it also has numerous methods for giving customers money to spend. There are a lot of reasons you might want to do this:

  • Your client wants to limit the amount of money their customers can spend
  • Your client wants to reward an employee
  • A client’s department (a group within the company) has a fixed budget that they cannot exceed

A storeBlox CS company store has three primary methods for handling this:

Gift Certificates: Gift certificates in storeBlox CS work pretty much the same way they work anywhere else; you assign a dollar value and an expiration date, then storeBlox CS generates a unique code. This code is used by the customer when they place an order.

Every gift certificate has an audit trail, which is a fancy way of saying we track all the transactions against the gift certificate, right there on the certificate itself, including the final balance:

Gift certificate transactions in storeBlox CS Company Store

Budgets: Budgets are kind of like gift certificates on steroids, and they are used for a different purpose. Gift certificates are meant to be handed out to anyone, where budgets are assigned to specific users or groups to control spending.

Two other big differences you’ll see in budgets from gift certificates: You can continually modify a budget as needed, adding or subtracting funds down the road (and even adding notes as to why!). Budgets also have built-in detail reporting of usage, and these reports can be exported to your favorite spreadsheet program whenever you like!

Budget adjustment in storeBlox CS Company Store

Points: Points stores are a topic unto themselves, but points are simply an alternative “currency” that a store can use when regular dollars are not desirable. Points have two distinct advantages over other methods of storing value.

First, points can be accumulated. That means that your client can use points to reward employees for, say, safety or performance, and the employees can collect points over time to get the things they really want. 30 points might get them a shirt, but if they have six straight months of perfect safety they can get that iPod Touch they’ve been craving.

Second, using points may have accounting advantages over other methods of giving customers money to use (we’re not accountants, so please talk to your friendly CPA about this). Since things like gift certificates can store value, your client may be “on the hook” for that dollar value until it’s used or the gift certificate expires. Points usually have no real dollar value, so the accounting implications are often less complex.

Look for a separate Company Stores 101 on points stores very soon!