Guide to Maximizing Gift Cards
Offering gift cards for your business can turn your loyal customers into brand ambassadors and introduce your brand to new customers. Making a plan is key to a successful program!
Set Goals and Expectations
Set goals. As they say, “What gets measured, gets done.” Goals must be specific and measurable, whether you choose to measure numbers, percentages or dollars. See the list below for some ideas about what kinds of goals you should set.
If this is your first foray into gift card sales goal-setting and tracking, keep it simple and focus on a few key areas, such as staff participation, new clients acquired and overall revenue generated from gift card sales. It is important to understand that the most powerful goals follow the SMART goal setting method. Your goals should be:
- Time Bound
- Overall and monthly, quarterly, etc. gift card revenue
- Number of gift cards sold
- Average amount of gift cards
- Percentage of staff (if you have any) who sell one or more gift cards
- Sales of gift cards by staff
- Percentage of customers buying gift cards
- Number of new clients acquired from gift cards
- Number of first time clients (attributed to gift card redemption) who return one or more times
- Percentage of first time clients who become repeat clients
Document your goals and move on to step two.
31% of customers say they buy higher priced or full priced items with a gift card.
- Your loyal customers are the great place to start. Your happy customers are a logical target to be your gift card giving ambassadors.
- Inactive customers are another key group to target. Consumers often get busy, or forget about brands they like. Take this opportunity to reconnect.
- Start with your network. Friends and family are key supporters and often look for ways to support.
- As you build a customer base and database of clients, your early customers are key in sharing your business.
Educate Your Team
Train your team on all things gift cards. Spend time reviewing everything from ringing up gift cards, loading money onto to physical gift cards, and redeeming gift cards. Make sure that your team is comfortable with every aspect of the gift cards, so when you start selling, everybody is ready for business.
Marketing and Communication
Adding gift cards alone will not bring in revenue. It is important to implement smart marketing and communication tactics to make sure your target audience is aware and excited about your gift cards.
To help you see the return on investment (ROI) for your gift cards, incorporate some of these marketing tactics to bring customers in and asking about your gift cards.
- Use email marketing to target your customers. Send an email to the members of your loyalty program to let them know you now offer gift cards!
- Reach your customers on social. Use your social platforms to post about your gift cards, and gift card promotions you may be offering.
- Use gift card promos for less-popular holidays. Give your business a boost during slow times by offering special gift card deals for quirky celebrations (Groundhog Day anyone?) or even special causes.
- Use gift cards to reward loyal customers. If you have a loyalty program in place, try using gift cards instead of or in addition to discounts. Gift cards have higher perceived value than discounts, so they’re more successful at getting customers into your business.
- Use gift cards as promotional items. You can draw customers into your business — or get them to buy more than they otherwise would — with gift-card related promotions. For example, give customers a $10 gift card for every $50 they spend, a $25 gift card for every $100 they spend, and so on.
In-Store Promotion Ideas
Marketing shouldn’t stop once your customers are in your establishment. Utilize these strategies to promote your gift card offering:
- Have your team sell. Encourage your team to mention gift cards while completing transactions. Go one step further, and set up a contest that encourages your team to sell gift cards.
- Place gift cards at the point of sale (POS). Gift cards are often an impulse buy, so putting an attractive display with gift cards, envelopes, gift-card bags or gift-card cases near your registers can really boost sales.
- Create attractive gift cards. Unique gift cards stand out and provide added brand recognition, utilize custom cards to promote themselves and your business. Get creative! Gift card printers have capabilities to do anything you can dream up!
Track and Evaluate
Track the results of your investment in gift cards.
If you can’t tie results to specific marketing efforts, you won’t know what’s working. Use your reporting data to measure the goals you established. Monthly evaluation is important to keep you on track to achieving your goals.
Keep track with a chart or log to clearly measure your goals and achieved numbers.
|Goal||Actual – January||Actual – February||Actual – March|
|Sell 25 gift cards a month||10||18||22|
|Achieve $1000 in gift card revenue||$200||$370||$550|
If you didn’t meet your expectations one month, take some time to evaluate your marketing and promotional strategy. Are there any changes or additions you could make? Think about small changes like sending out an additional email or adding promotional signage in your establishment.
Remember, if your gift cards don’t fly off the shelves immediately, don’t get discouraged. Revisit your marketing, and think about what else you can be doing to increase awareness and excitement.