Maximizing Holiday Gift Card Sales

Gyft App HandRetailers can employ strategies to maximize exposure to their gift card programs. By Dom Morea

The holiday season is fast approaching and retailers are already searching for effective ways to grab customer attention, increase in-store visits and gain an edge during the most competitive part of the retail year. First Data’s 2017 Prepaid Consumer Insights Study found that the average number of physical gift cards purchased per consumer has increased over the last four years from 4.7 to 6.5 percent, so prioritizing gift card programs should be a no-brainer for retailers of all sizes. Luckily, retailers can employ the following strategies to maximize exposure to their gift card programs and bring holiday joy to their stores and customers.  

Spread the word

Retailers should communicate their gift card programs across all available channels to ensure that the customer base is aware of the products and knows where to find them. Since the majority of gift card purchases are planned in advance, it is essential that retailers begin advertising and promoting them during of the holiday season. Print advertising and in-store displays work well, but online channels are another great way to get attention quickly. Digital advertising and engaging with consumers via social media will drive immediate awareness, especially if you offer digital gift cards or gift cards to be purchased and shipped online.

Make the most of mobile

The rise of smartphone use is popularizing mobile gifts cards, especially among millennials. Millennial consumers are attracted to mobile gift cards since there is no printout or plastic card required for a purchase. Also, recipients can easily check their balances, reload cards, and even redeem cards online. The future of gift cards is with mobile as 71 percent of consumers ages 18 to 24 are interested in storing the value of a gift card using a smart-phone app. As this generation gets older and consumers in this group have more disposable income, they will drive the full adoption of mobile gift cards.  

Sweeten the deal with incentives

Gift cards are a great present, but they are also a vehicle to encourage more spending from customers. That’s why incentives should be a key element of all gift card programs to boost more customer traffic and repeat purchases. Incentive programs should be simple and sweeten the deal to entice customers. For example, consider offering a free $5 gift card with any $25 purchase or a free $10 gift card with the purchase of a $100 gift card. These tactics put gift cards in the hands of customers making regular purchases and extend gift card use by shoppers who have already purchased one, opening the door to added revenue.      

Make cards a true gift

Retailers can drive more sales by elevating the design of their actual gift cards as well as their packaging. Through apps like Clover Gift Cards, businesses can offer premium, occasion-specific gift cards in unique designs that are more likely to catch the eye of customers as something their friends and family can unwrap during the holidays.  

Pump up the employees

In order for gift card programs to be successful, retailers must be equally proactive in promoting the benefits of gift cards to employees as they are to customers. During the holidays, retailers should provide gift card sales training to generate excitement among in-store employees by developing gift card sales “challenges.”

Location, location, location

Retailers should make sure that gift card displays are placed at high-traffic locations within the store. Putting gift cards on display near store entrances and checkout registers can increase the likelihood that all customers will see them at some point during their visit. As well, merchandising kits should be sent to all store locations with new displays and signage along with recommendations or planograms to show where and how to place each display.  

A strong gift card program will benefit your business in addition to your customers. With 75 percent of gift card users admitting to overspending beyond the original value of their gift cards by an average of nearly $38 in 2017, gift cards can be a primary tool to drive sales for your store throughout the holiday season and beyond. All retailers should keep up with the latest gift card trends to grow both in-store and digital gift card sales.

Dom Morea is senior vice president and head of gift solutions at First Data. He is responsible for leading the transformation and growth of the industry’s leading provider of branded stored value solutions.

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