Shopping for physical gift items might be difficult this holiday season, as supply chain issues are leaving store shelves less than fully stocked. Gift cards are the #1 most requested gift item and they are a great option for your customers when physical stock is low. If you aren’t promoting gift cards as an alternative to your out-of-stock items, you may risk losing customers as they will go shop somewhere else.
Not only do gift cards bring more people to your business, on average, consumers will spend 40% more than the value of a gift card, according to Theresa McEndree, global head of marketing for Blackhawk. And from 2019 to 2020, consumers expected to spend 19% more on gift cards on average. This points towards even more increases for the 2021 holiday season, especially due to shortages of physical products.
Selling gift cards or gift certificates for your retail store, restaurant, or service-based business is a great way to boost your holiday sales and offer your customers something that is always available.
Read on to learn seven great ideas for promoting your gift card sales this holiday season. Selling gift cards can help you gain new loyal customers beyond the holiday season, so it’s a great marketing opportunity for any business.
1. Promote your gift cards everywhere
Arguably the most important aspect of selling gift cards is to make sure your customers know that you are offering them! Some businesses may not advertise or promote their gift cards and they could be losing out on potential revenue and a great way to gain new customers.
In stores, keep your gift cards in a visible location and use signage to advertise the option of buying gift cards. Most stores keep them at the checkout counter so they are easy to find and visible to purchasers. You might consider placing advertisements at the front of your store so customers don’t need to make it all the way to the checkout counter to see them. If you are running promotions for your gift cards, make sure you have large signs to advertise the promotions in your store.
Online, you can create website ads or pop-ups to promote your gift cards so your customers will see the option when they visit your website. Also be sure to promote your gift cards on all of your social media channels and in your email marketing. You want your advertising coverage to hit all possible channels so you can be sure you are reaching as many people as you can. Don’t fear over-promoting your gift cards. Your customers are juggling a lot during the holiday season, and they may need reminders that your gift cards are an option so they don’t simply forget to buy them!
Another great idea is to collaborate with other local businesses to sell each other’s gift cards in stores. This can help businesses find new potential customers based on word of mouth and a local-minded approach. For example, a coffee shop, clothing store, restaurant, and a bookstore might want to team up and sell each other’s gift cards as a way to promote each other’s businesses in the local area.
2. Offer free gift card packaging
Many retail stores and restaurants sell gift cards without packaging, leaving it up to the customer to package the gift card themselves. Offering a simple gift card folder for free with every gift card purchase promotes goodwill with your customers as it saves them the time and money of buying gift card packaging separately.
There are many ways to package gift cards including small boxes, gift card folders, cards, or even tins. You can buy solid colors to use year round or holiday designs for Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, etc. Offering included gift card packaging is a small investment in your customer’s happiness with their gift card purchases.
You can also purchase custom branded gift card packaging to help promote your brand even further (more on that below).If giving away free gift card packaging is not in your budget, you can sell packaging options alongside your gift cards for a small upcharge. This still offers your customers the convenience of instant packaging but allows you to gain some extra revenue. Then your customers are able to choose what packaging they want and are able to customize their gift.
3. Run a BOGO promotion
A common way to promote your gift card sales is to offer a sales incentive for customers to buy them in larger amounts. For example, offering a free $20 gift card with the purchase of $100 worth of gift cards. That way you can increase the dollar volume of gift cards sold and your customer gets a freebie that they can use for themselves or give away.
Another BOGO promotion option is to offer a free gift card with any store purchase above a certain dollar threshold in the hope that your customer will either return to spend the gift card themselves (often spending more than the allotted amount) or they will give it away as a gift. A study by RGCA found that 6% of Americans buy gift cards for themselves, and 45% of that group purchased a gift card to qualify for a loyalty deal or discount.
As every new customer usually comes with an acquisition cost, whether through advertising or referrals, it makes sense to offer free gift cards to customers that will likely spend more money at your business and/or will encourage their friends and family to also shop at your business.
4. Have a digital gift card option
Having a digital gift card option is a must these days. Online gift card sales went up by 106.1% year-over-year in December 2020, so we can expect even more growth in 2021 as supply chain issues make physical gifts more sparse. Digital gift cards also can help the environment by producing less plastic waste.
Many consumers would find the convenience of a digital gift card that they can keep accessible on their phone better than a physical card that they would need to remember to carry around with them. There is a lower chance that these gift cards will be lost or stolen and they are still a secure and reliable way to make purchases.
Always market your digital gift cards on your website, social media pages, and in your marketing emails for maximum exposure. Because there is no physical product to sell, you’ll need to ensure that your marketing is enough to get the word out about your digital gift cards.
5. Create a gift card mailing program
An option to mail a gift card to your customer’s chosen recipient can be a great asset this holiday season. As the pandemic looms on, many people will choose not to travel to see their families this year. Offering a gift card mailing program is a great way to promote gift card sales for those with faraway loved ones.
You can offer this service for free with a minimum purchase or for a small upcharge to cover the cost. Mailing gift cards is inexpensive and easy, and the convenience for your customers may be worth bearing the cost. You can even purchase small mailing boxes that are specifically made for gift cards, or use flat envelopes whenever possible. As a bonus, offer the option of a personal note or card included with the gift to make it feel more personalized.
6. Bundle gift cards with freebies
As an alternative to discounts or BOGO promotions, offer interesting freebie items to your customers who buy a certain threshold of gift cards. Some customers are more enticed by free items than by free gift cards. Find a product or a few products that are low cost to give away but may be high value for your customers. This might be a free service, free appetizer at a restaurant, a free product, or a unique branded item, depending on your business. Be sure to promote your freebies on your website, in store, and on social media channels for maximum participation.
7. Brand your gift cards and gift card packaging
Rather than just using generic gift cards and packaging, customize your gift cards and gift card packaging for maximum impact. Having a branded gift card that is easily recognizable and unique can go a long way to making your business iconic. Even better, create specially designed gift cards just for the holiday season so they can be promoted as the perfect gift. Your customers will be more likely to grab your gift cards if they have a fun, themed holiday design.
Most gift cards end up in the recipient’s wallet, which means your branding and information needs to be on the gift card itself or you risk losing the business. Not everyone will remember what store the generic gift card in their wallet goes to, especially as time goes by. Including important information like your location, phone number, and website can help make it easier for customers to shop.
An enhanced gift card presentation could also make the difference between whether or not your customer will choose to give your gift card as a gift. Great branding can turn an ordinary gift card into a coveted gift item. Your gift cards should match the style and aesthetic of your physical location or website’s branding.
Don’t forget to market your gift cards year-round!
Don’t stop marketing your gift cards after the holiday season, gift cards are an always-popular gift for other special occasions like birthdays, weddings, mother’s and father’s day, and more! Keep up your gift card promotions year-round to increase your revenues and consistently gain new customers.
Custom branded gift cards and gift card packaging can help you promote your gift card sales and gain new customers! Contact Morgan Chaney for more information on branding your gift cards and packaging.