January 31, 2006, 12:00 AM

It`s a Gift

(Page 3 of 3)

Online retail sales are up. Gift certificate sales are up. The desire to receive gift certificates is up. Things, in general, are looking up. But obstacles lie ahead for GiftCertificates.com.

“There is potential competition; other aggregators will be coming into the market. Competition also could come from the shopping search engines adding gift certificates as a product that consumers can search on and compare,” Freeman Evans predicts.

GiftCertificates.com executives believe the challenges they must confront are not unique to the company. The future of the company, they say, will be affected by many of the same factors influencing the entire online retailing industry.

“Every online retailer is facing the increasing cost of customer acquisition through the search process. That will continue to be a challenge,” Barefield predicts. “Another challenge is the fast-changing nature of the game. The bar for having a web site and customer experience that consumers find at minimum to be adequate constantly is raised. Always having to focus on the kinds of changes you need to make and the new features you need to incorporate so that customers have positive experiences is a challenge for everyone.”

bill@verticalwebmedia.com

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