As the holidays approach and you are planning your gift-giving list, it can be a stressful time to determine what the best gift for everyone is. You can always fall back on the generic gifts such as candles or take a guess at their size for a new sweater -- but there’s a good chance these gifts could be quickly regifted.
Why not skip the guessing game that comes with gift-giving and pick up a gift card instead. Gift cards are increasingly becoming a more popular gift choice because they allow people to choose the items they want from a store.
In fact, many people actually prefer to receive gift cards for the holidays. When surveyed, many consumers placed gift cards above any other gift category they would like to receive.
A gift card allows the person who receives it to go to the store and pick out the items they want. It also eliminates the need for you to guess what size or, in the scenario of candles, sent they like -- meaning they won’t have to make a trip to the mall to make a return.
Gift Card Sales Are Growing
So, chances are you'll be picking up some gift cards in the time leading up to the holidays. And you won't be alone. 67% of consumers will purchase at least one gift card this holiday season and more than one in every four digital gift cards sold in December are purchased between Dec. 21 and 24*. So you have plenty of time to figure out what stores everyone on your shopping list want to get!.
How do gift cards benefit retailers?
As a retail business, you may be thinking you’d rather people purchase items for the people on their list rather than just a $25 gift card. But there are benefits to gift card sales for your overall holiday sales as well.
Gift cards are important for retailer as the average shopper spends an extra 20% beyond the card value when redeeming and 75% of those shoppers who overspend spend 60% more*.
This means that just because you sold one $25 gift card as a holiday gift doesn’t mean you won’t make any additional sales from that gift card. In fact, you are more likely to make more from that gift than another item that may end up being returned -- putting that sale into the negatives.
But the benefits don't end there.
Gift cards can and should be an acquisition point - not just for the buyer but for the receiver as well. Think about how you do your own holiday shopping. How many times have you gone to a website looking for an item for one family member and left with something for another? Or ended up spending more money on yourself than the people you were purchasing for?
It’s happened to all of us and with all those great holiday sales, it can be hard to resist buying more than you intended.
Develop an eGift Card Strategy
So, we’ve discussed why gift cards are a great option when it comes to holiday shopping -- but what does that mean for you? It means that if you don’t already have a strategy in place for pushing gift cards, both in-store and digitally, you’ll want to jump on that.
In-store, you’ll want to make sure to strategically place gift cards. That means to have them available throughout the store and easily accessible. A stand of gift cards towards the front of the store will make sure people see them right when they walk-in, and having them at the register will help remind someone before leaving that you sell gift cards.
But digital gift cards are a little less obvious and are where you’ll want to spend a little more time thinking through.
You may want to incorporate the promotion of your electronic gift cards into your holiday email marketing strategy. Send subscribers reminders that they can purchase and send gift cards digital to friends and family members across the country. It is also a great solution for those last-minute shoppers to get a quick gift the night before their holiday celebration.
An eGift Card Promotion That Works
Sephora does an excellent job with its gift card strategy. Let’s take a quick look at how they utilize their email marketing and appeal to the urgency of last-minute shopping.
First, it promotes eGift cards as it would any other product, making it easy for last-minute shoppers to purchase. You can see they are reminding their subscribers that time is running out to get that last gift they might be putting off.
You’ll also notice another tactic to promote the gift card in this email, an incentive offer. If someone were to purchase a gift card valued at $50 or more, there is also now a free in-store custom makeover included. Chances are good when that customer comes for the in-store makeover, they are going to walk out of the store with even more items.
Since this is targeted at the last-minute shopper, it knows this will need to be sent over digitally. So, when you proceed with checking out Iit asks for the recipient's email address for delivery and you may also choose to add their mobile number so they receive a text message with a link to view the gift card online.
Digitally sent gift cards are also a great option when it comes to purchasing a gift for someone you won’t see face-to-face during the holidays. No need to send an expensive package in the mail if you can send a gift card right to their email inbox.
It not only sends the buyer an email confirmation upon purchase, but also when the gift card has been viewed. This lets you know that the gift card has been opened and seen. If you were sending it as a surprise, then you know you can check-in with the person you gifted the item to just to make sure they received it.:
Taking this strategy to the next level, your email and text messages to the recipient could include an opt-in link so you can continue to market to them. The recipients could be new to your brand or first-time buyers and you want to do everything you can to engage them on an ongoing basis. It's the first step towards building long-term and loyal customers.
Give your friends and family the gift they really want this year!