9 WAYS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR GIFT CARD PROGRAM
Gift cards are a growing trend in retail markets. The reason is simple: they are a great way to keep money in your store and let your customers increase your client base for you.
Maximizing the amount of money you can make from a successful gift card program requires a little more than simply setting out a few gift cards on the counter—though that is a great place to start.
You will definitely sell some gift cards at the counter when customers come in to your store to shop for a gift and find the gift card options more convenient. And your loyal customers will choose to buy your gift card over any other because they want their friends to share the shopping experience that only your store can offer.
So, what are some other ways that you can make more and save more money with a gift card program?
Put Your Card Out There
See if you can find even a single major retailer that isn’t selling a gift card online. Then, also think about everywhere else you can find their cards: in stores, at gift card kiosks, in apps and more.
Visibility is everything. Put your gift card on the counter, put signage on the door and on end-cap displays, put easy-to-grasp displays in your check-out zones, put gift cards on your website, add a link to your gift card in newsletters and post it in your social media profiles. In short, make sure customers know you have a gift card and know all the ways they can buy it.
Make it Gift-Ready
Don’t just plop a piece of plastic on the counter and expect shoppers to do the rest of the work. At the very least, give customers a free envelope or gift card holder with the purchase of a card. Better yet, offer ribbon and cellophane bags to customers who buy small items to go with their gift cards.
Place your store gift card next to your more popular products. Show the items packaged together in a cute bag that customers can buy as well. (Or give a branded bag away for free.)
Reward Loyal Customers
Many gift card programs also have customer loyalty programs that can be added or integrated into a gift card system. Reward frequent shoppers with gift cards when they reach a spending threshold—send a gift card in the mail to a big spender you haven’t seen in a while.
Run “Buy One, Get One” (BOGO) Offers
Retailers often advertise BOGO deals around major holidays. For example, you might give a customer a free $10 gift card with a $100 gift card purchase. Rewarding the giver creates the opportunity to bring two shoppers back to your store.
If card buyers are purchasing the gift card solely for the purpose of getting the extra $10 in spending power, then so be it. These customers are obviously brand fans and will likely spend in excess of the gift card value when they return.
Drive Post-Holiday Shopping
Gift cards purchased at the end of the year are most often redeemed at the beginning of the following year. Gift card redemption during this time can boost what is typically considered to be a slow selling season. So, offer customers incentives to come back and spend their gift cards.
Organize a Gift Card Weekend
To increase gift card redemption, promote a once-a-year event where participating retail partners encourage shoppers to use the gift cards received during the holiday season. It is typically in January, but you can make yours any day of the year. Just be sure to advertise the promotion to your customers.
Give Cards Instead of Cash
When a customer returns merchandise with or without a receipt, offer a gift card in exchange. The money stays in your store and the shopper is encouraged to find something else to buy. Posting the store’s new return policy may also decrease fraud since shoplifters will know they can no longer steal merchandise, return it without a receipt and get cash back.
Donate Cards to Fundraisers
When schools and charitable organizations ask for fundraiser donations, offer gift cards instead of merchandise or full-value services. You’ll reach more potential customers and don’t have to give away merchandise that might not be appreciated.
For example, if you donate a gift basket filled with $100 worth of products, the goods leave your store and you will likely never see the person who won the basket. If you donate a $100 gift card instead, the merchandise stays put and the winner will have to visit your shop in order to redeem the card. Two $50 gift cards will net you two customers, and so forth.
Reward Employees with Gift Cards
Rather than cut checks or buy less useful incentive products (e.g. trophies, logo t-shirts, mugs), where applicable, reward top salespeople and other star performers with gift cards.
Not only does the money come back to your business, but employees get the opportunity to act like customers. You may get valuable feedback in the process.
That’s just the beginning! As a retailer, you should be able to make a gift card program profitable. For some, success means customers buy their gift cards in droves and recipients quickly return to the store to shop. For others, a gift card is more of a marketing tool that their retail business can use for sales incentives, customer rewards, “come back” offers and more.
When in doubt, simply follow the example set by large department stores. Make sure your gift card is visible and available in as many places as possible.
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