Gift Card Store – taking the stress out of gift shopping.

I always find shopping for presents to be stressful. I am a seasoned (some would say professional) shopper, but find second guessing what someone else would actually like as a gift to be a difficult task. You are basically trying to tap into someone else’s taste, preferences and wishlist without actually spoiling what should be a lovely surprise. Tie this in with issues like knowing someone’s size, whether they prefer musky or floral perfumes and whether they actually like soft centres in their chocolate, and you are left with a serious gift minefield. No wonder so many presents are received with a thank you uttered through gritted teeth!

So I now tend to give gift cards to my friends and family. They allow people to choose the perfect gift  for themselves, finding a treat they really want, need or have coveted for a long time. Which is just one of the reasons I think the launch of the Gift Card Store is such a fantastic idea.

The Gift Card store is a one stop shop where you can pick up gift cards from 25 leading brands, all at the same time. There are cards linked to fashion (brands like Next and Debenhams to name two), entertainment (Ticketmaster and iTunes), eating out and DIY. DIY giant Homebase recently launched Gift Card Store in their 330 stores – meaning that it might be a fabulous option to get the man in your life to pick you up a loaded card for Next when he pops in to buy a shovel or a spanner.

Blackhawk Network(The people behind Gift Card Store) have researched consumer reactions to gift cards and some of their findings are quite staggering. Two thirds of those questioned said they would prefer to receive a gift card than a chosen present. A staggering 91% said that they believed they would be purchasing a gift card at some point in the coming year. Gift Cards offer a good mixture of convenience for the purchaser and satisfaction for the receiver.

So what is different about the Gift Card Store? The main difference is that it offers access to many different types of card in one location.  Currently there are Gift Card concessions in Boots, Tesco, Argos and Morrisons supermarket, amongst others. I love the fact that you can pick these up when you do your food shop, rather than having to make a specific trip to get a present. And how useful are these if you have actually forgotten a birthday! The locations of the Gift Card Stores make them perfect for those shopper-phobics who want to get everything under one roof, or for people like me, who have to shop with a small, grumpy child in toe. And don’t forget that Gift Cards are not just for birthdays and Christmas. Research has shown that many parents now send Gift Cards for supermarkets to their student teens at University – these can be used to pay for shopping provisions.

With Mothers Day just around the corner, this could be the ideal opportunity to really surprise mum by allowing her to choose her own perfect gift. And as an Easter gift, this could be calorie avoidance of the highest order, perfect for those who are currently hitting the gym and the Dukan Diet!