Retailers Offer Tech Savvy Gift Cards

With the combination of a slowing economy and stiffening competition for the growing gift card market, Target and Best Buy are hoping their tech savvy gift cards will catch the attention of consumers. The new Best Buy card has a built-in speaker with a mini headphone jack which can play music from MP3 players, iPods or your computer. Target’s card doubles as a 1.2 megapixel digital camera, about the quality of the one on your cellphone, with memory for 50 pictures.

Both are promoting this as a way to personalize gift cards, which often get a rap as “thoughtless” gifts. They are offering the techy add-ons for any card over $50.

A 2007 Gift Card Study by Bankrate found that the average amount of each gift card was $53, so will the $50 price point for the premium gift card influence people to up their dollar amounts?

Retailers like Wal-Mart, JC Penney, Kmart, Toys R Us, and Circuit City are prematurely starting holiday sales, offering Black Friday prices as early as this week. Is this another way to compete with early holiday price promotions?

Engadget says even with the wiz-bang features, gift cards are still a “lazy present.” It’s a cool innovation, but will it provide a competitive advantage to these retailers? Is the technology to lo-fi for people to even use, or is it lo-fi enough to be cool?