The Secret to Selling More Gift Cards This Holiday Season


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Who doesn’t love getting a gift card? Gift cards are convenient to give, people love to receive them, and they’re also on the top of many consumers’ holiday wish lists. Their popularity is on the rise: US shoppers purchased an average of 6.5 gift cards this year, up from 5.9 the year before. Retailers love gift cards, too, and for good reason: consumers spend an average of $38 more than the value on their gift card, and 44% say that having a card caused them to go to a store they would not have visited otherwise.

It’s not hard to see why selling more gift cards should be on any retailer’s holiday wish list this year. Thankfully, there are a number of simple techniques retailers can use to make that wish come true. The secret to selling more gift cards this holiday season lies in a few strategic efforts:

Enlist your Sales Associates to Sell More Gift Cards
Your sales associates have the unique ability to connect with customers on a human level. They can build relationships and earn trust in ways that are much more difficult for a brand to achieve through mass marketing efforts. Enlist your sales associates to sell gift cards by reminding them to promote them throughout the holiday season.

One creative idea is to use a clienteling solution to record special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. You can even use clienteling to link accounts and remind the shopper that their spouse’s birthday is approaching. It’s a win-win tactic since the client appreciates the friendly reminder and gets their gift purchase done easily, and the retailer scores the sale.

Sell More Gift Cards Everywhere
While the physical store might be the first place that comes to mind when you think of selling gift cards, nowadays, digital and omni-channel gift cards make up an important piece of the gift card puzzle. Your e-commerce solution should support gift card sales and redemption of both physical and digital cards.

Just like you might place a rack of gift cards near the checkout in a physical store, look for creative merchandising opportunities to promote gift cards online. You might want to add a banner to your home page during the holiday season reminding shoppers that they can purchase gift cards online. Another idea is to suggest gift cards as an upsell to every shopping basket.

Use Incentives to Reward Gift Card Buyers
Savvy retailers are always coming up with new and creative ways to incentivize gift card buyers. Some examples include The Children’s Place, which entices shoppers with a gift card of their own when they purchase one to give away.

Some retailers are using gift cards as a way to ensure future shoppers spend with them by marketing gift cards as reloadable spending cards. These are not meant to be given away as gifts: for example, Amazon recently had a promotion where shoppers who loaded $100 onto their account got a $5 discount. Starbucks has successfully combined their loyalty program with their reloadable gift cards, whereby patrons accumulate points and can earn free food and drinks for purchases made with their Starbucks card.

Put a Bow on It
Most of us love to receive gift cards, but not everyone likes to buy them. Despite being a convenient gift, many shoppers are reluctant to offer a gift card since the act is sometimes perceived as less thoughtful or impersonal. Retailers can solve this dilemma by stocking gift cards next to other small gift items, greeting cards, gift boxes, and decorations to make the gift card a complete gift. The shopper is happy because they can exit the store with everything they need for the gift, and the retailer benefits from an even bigger sale.

Use Gift Registries to Market Gift Cards
Wish cards in various denominations are an absolute must to offer if you have a gift registry service. Occasions such as weddings or the birth of a child are often celebrated with gifts from friends and family, so registries are an important place to remind gift givers that gift cards are available. Ensure that gift cards can be added to your registries and wish lists, and instruct sales associates to remind customers to add gift cards to their list. Some stores even add gift cards automatically, which is another great option.

There are many ways that retailers can boost revenues by selling more gift cards during the holiday season. Many of these strategies can be adopted in a day or less, with no added expense. It’s hard to believe that Christmas is only a few short weeks away, so now’s the time to maximize your efforts to see the greatest return.

Danya Rielly
Danya Rielly is the Digital Marketing Manager at Mi9 Retail. She writes about shopper behavior, customer experience, retail technology, and other trends affecting the retail industry.


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