Marketing gift cards to your customers
As retailers (and shoppers), we’re no stranger to the power of gift cards. They are the best present you can give someone whilst simultaneously acting as a terrific marketing tool, that’s designed to bring in new customers in lieu of repeat business.
Indeed, that word, ‘repeat businesses’, should perk up the ears of any retailer looking to increase sales and revenue, and which is why gift cards play such a significant part in achieving that goal. As such, understanding just how to best market and sell gift cards to your customers should be thought of as retail 101.
In this article, we’ll run through just some of the ways in which retailers can market gift cards to their customers, improving your sales reach and potentially unleashing a swarm of new business.
Assertively market gift cards
It’s common for some retailers to employ a wait until asked approach on gift cards. They won’t actively market them to shoppers and will only perform a sale of one when asked. This is decidedly a poor way in which to utilise gift cards as in this scenario they are simply treated as an after-thought, rather than as an integral part of your product line.
Retailers should instead take an assertive approach when it comes to marketing gift-cards, actively asking customers if they would like to purchase one during the checkout process. Whilst there are more visually representative methods to promote the existence of gift cards (more on that later), selling to a customer’s face is the most direct way of doing so.
This should be emphasised to your sales staff as well, as they are the ones who will most often be delivering this message.
Visually present your gift cards in-store
The plastic shell of a gift card will probably not be the most attention-grabbing item in your store, but like anything, great placement will attract the eye of the consumer. For this you’ll want to have your gift-cards displayed on a rack or shelf at the highest traffic area/s inside your store.
For many this will be the checkout counter, where you’ll be able to have gift cards displayed directly next to your POS system – providing your staff the perfect opportunity in which they can also sell it to a customer.
Moreover, whilst your plastic gift cards can appear visually stale, it’s easy to add a bit of character and personalisation for that added bit of spunk. Run a pet store? Well how about a customised dog bone as your gift card, instead of the just another credit-sized card. Head to your local printing shop to see what options are available to you and your store, to jazz up your gift cards and grab the attention of your customers.
Market outside your store’s demographics
At the top of this article we mentioned how gift cards are really the perfect present. However, when marketing gift cards to customers, you need to expand the range of people you market to, to not only be selling to your own customers. Simply put, this means that you also need to target people who would buy a gift card for someone else.
This requires a shift in thinking, where you consider more lateral options of customer bases that don’t necessarily reflect the demographics of those that shop in your store, but are connected to people that do.
For example, if your business consists of women’s clothing, perhaps targeting men, or more specifically husbands, would be worth the investment in spending your marketing dollars on. The same would obviously apply to men’s stores and targeting to wives. After all, who hasn’t been stumped at what to get for that special someone, and advertising the gift card at exactly the right time could just be the lifesaver he or she needs.
To expand the reach of gift card appeal you can try contacting other businesses and get them to have your cards displayed in their store. This will most likely involve an exchange of cards in some form, where they will market your gift cards if you do the same with theirs.
Finding stores that complement your own, would be a good way in which to navigate a more interested customer as well, and even if a gift card is not purchased they may be tempted to take a visit to your store. Finding your gift cards a home in local or regional grocery stores, alongside other gift cards, would also be a boon to business. However, you should only go down that route if it makes financial sense for your business, as they are likely to take a percentage out of your sales.
Gift cards for events
Hallmark sells cards for birthdays, Father’s and Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day etc, so why not attempt the same for gift cards? This goes to the personalisation aspect that you should already consider employing, but having holiday specific can give your gift cards a sense of variety that your customers will love.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it makes brilliant marketing sense to create theme product displays involving your most ‘Valentine Day’ appropriate items, with gift cards packaged front and centre.
Online and social media marketing
The most permanent way in which to market gift cards is through your online platforms with social media and your online and/or e-Commerce website. This increases the awareness your shoppers have of your gift cards and doesn’t just limit yourself to marketing in-store.
Social media presents an opportunity to market gift cards by putting up posts that illustrate your gift-card design (particularly useful if you’ve gone the personalised card route). Periodically, and around holiday events, you can post messages stating that you have gift cards available for anyone needing a ‘last minute’ present.
Your online website and/or e-Commerce page should also directly have an option to purchase gift cards, or at least that you are selling them. Banners, splashed across your front page during those holiday seasons are also useful in letting your customers know that you’re selling them.
Establishing the importance of the gift card is inherently important, but so too is the need to actively market them. Whilst there are many cost-effective ways in which to do so, the most important factor when marketing gift cards to your customers is to get out and do so.