Category Archives: Small Business


Review of @CardCash, an Online Marketplace for Buying and Selling #GiftCards

CardCash ( is an online broker that buys and sells gift cards. With gift cards being a massive business that’s becoming more popular as a gift idea, it’s almost certain that everyone will get at least one gift card this year for a merchant that they do not normally buy from.

CardCash aims to create a more liquid marketplace for these gift cards. Sellers can get a quote for their card online, which CardCard purchases at a discount from the original price. Buyers can purchase gift cards, for a lower discount, but still pay less than the redemption value of the card. In this way CardCash offers careful shoppers the ability to save money on purchases made with discounted gift cards.

After reading about CardCash in NJBiz, I decided to give the service a try. On a Tuesday, I went on the website and got a quote for a $200 gift card. After selecting the merchant, entering the numbers on the card and the current value of the card, I received an immediate offer of $150, 25% of face value. I accepted the offer, printed out the confirmation form, and mailed both to CardCash. CardCash provides a few options for receiving payment on the card, and I selected direct deposit into a bank account. Within a few days, I received a notification from CardCash that the card had been received and confirming that I would receiving payment shortly. By Monday, the money had been deposited in my account. Everything worked quickly and as promised.

The following day, I checked the CardCash site and saw a gift card for the same amount and merchant for sale for $184, or an 8% discount off face value. A couple of days later, it looks like that card had been sold.

The selection of cards available for sale is excellent and there is a wide selection of merchants, from high-end retailers, to supermarkets. I have not purchased a card from CardCash yet, but if the response time is as quick as on the sale side, it should be simple to plan that weekend’s shopping with a quick visit to the CardCash site earlier in the week.

On the downside, the website design is somewhat dated and won’t do much to comfort anyone who’s not convinced about buying and selling cards online. It looks more like a 90’s shopping cart template rather than a cutting-edge consumer site. There are a few parts of the sale process that are a bit confusing, such as selecting the merchant initially. At the end of the process, the confirmation page after the sale and the confirmation email that is received aren’t quite the same, which may also cause some confusion. These are all minor issuse that should be easily corrected as the process matures.

From a business standpoint, CardCash needs to scale quickly and create a very liquid marketplace, so that cards can be received and then re-sold as quickly as possible. If my experience is typical, their gross margin is 18.5%. This is good if they don’t have any inventory on-hand, but not much extra room if lots of cards linger around unsold.

Over time, if CardCash can build up a loyal base of buyers, who want to be notified when a merchant’s cards are available, that should help CardCard to stay very liquid and increase their margins.

Overall, CardCard offers tremendous value to anyone who has gift cards to sell. The process is quick and straightfoward and payments are made quickly. For smart shoppers, especially those who are loyal to specific stores, there is the added value of purchasing gift cards at a discount to realize good savings when shopping. Where else can you get a quick 10% or more on your money these days?

Visit CardCash at and on Twitter @CardCash.

Keenen Ivory Wayans (@keeneniwayans) poses on stage during his set at the Stress Factory (@StressFactoryCC) in New Brunswick, NJ.

What Stand-Up Comics Can Teach #SmallBusiness About #Engagement

Last weekend, my wife and I saw stand-up comic Keenen Ivory Wayans (@keeneniwayans) perform at the Stress Factory in New Brunswick, NJ. (Great comedy venue, by the way, following them @StressFactoryCC). As with any sort of live event, the room was filled with people looking into their phones and tablets to photograph the show.

Early in his set, Ivory Wayans did something really interesting. He called out the crowd for using their cameras and told everyone that if they wanted a photo, he’d pose for them. He took ten seconds, posed for the crowd, and then told them to put the phones away. Most people did and went on to enjoy a fantastic set. Ivory Wayans had a triple win: everyone was happy to get a good on-stage shot of the actor, the crowd then went on to enjoy the rest of the set, and lots of people posted those photos on their social media, which in turn helps promote both the venue and Ivory Wayans’ stand-up tour.

The opening act, Melvin George II (@notcool1), took it even further, actually working his website ( into the act, getting people to visit to purchase downloads of the show. Maybe Melvin George II didn’t stick in people’s heads right away, but Not Cool 1 sure does.

The point here for small buinsess is to adapt and engage. Even in live stand-up, these two performers embraced digital and social media to enhance their performances, engage the audience better and provide a memorable and funnier overall experience. They didn’t give long sales pitches or tell people to do anything specific; they didn’t have to. By making people feel part of the experience and giving them something to do to stay connected, additional engagement happened organically. To follow-up, both comics engaged with fans on Twitter and Instagram to thank them for their comments and tweets, which surely helped them get more followers and fans who will be interested in future shows and other projects.

For small businesses especially, learning how to adapt your business to social media and learning to get people to want to engage with you is vital. Daily sales pitches for the latest product or service will get redundant and boring very quickly. Creative and interesting content, and by offering people the opportunity to engage with you and your brand, will create a more involved and invested audience. This creates new possibilities that you may not have even considered to convert followers into customers and clients.