Gift cards make the perfect present for the fussy shopper. They make an even better marketing tool for local retailers. Not only do they guarantee sales, they also increase brand awareness and generate new customers.
Whatever your multi-location business, selling more gift cards is going to increase profits. With the holidays approaching, there’s no better time to boost sales. Here’s how you can leverage your growing digital presence to sell more holiday gift cards online and in-store.
Start With Your Website
Your website is your business’ online storefront and the perfect place to start selling and promoting your gift cards.
Ideally, you should also be selling e-gift cards online, advises technology writer Agnes Teh Stubbs. “As busy customers increasingly look for ways to send instant gifts electronically, offering e-gift cards has become a prerequisite for any retailer that wants a slice of that growing pie.”
Francesca Nicasio at Vend recommends designing website banners to make it clear to customers that you sell gift cards as soon as they land on your website. They should be in clear view throughout the holiday season. And don’t forget to create a link to the gift card section of your website, too. You’ll still want customers to be able to purchase gift cards when the holiday season is over, after all.
Banners alone aren’t enough. The team at online gift voucher system One Tree in the UK points out that consumers will browse your website for different reasons and in different ways. As such, it is important to include links and call to actions throughout. “A subtle reminder on relevant pages that vouchers are available can bring them back later to buy a gift for friends or family.”
Look to Applebee’s for a great example of how to sell gift cards on your website. There is a very obvious link to the gift cards section in their navigation bar, which can be accessed from any page. On the gift cards page, customers are offered three ways to buy and send gift cards: by email, by postal mail and in bulk.
Spread the Message Across Social Media
Social media can be particularly powerful because consumers are increasingly turning to their favorite network for gift inspiration, says GrowBiz Media founder Rieva Lesonsky. Create content to encourage customers to buy your e-gift cards online. The transaction is automated and once processed, you have that buyer’s contact information for up-sells and future promotions.
What’s great about using your social media profiles to promote your holiday gift cards is that you can actually show them the cards, writes the team at retail platform Erply. You could even go as far as to couple gift card promotions with in-store items. They recommend posting an image of the gift card next to an in-store item. If customers don’t know the size, color or style to get, a gift card is the perfect solution.
You probably aren’t short of social media content over the holiday season, writes Upserve’s Holly Everett. But promoting your gift card on social media will make sure you definitely don’t run out. If you want to take things further, she recommends offering a special discount to your social media audience, if they make a gift card purchase online.
Don’t forget to push the last-minute angle when promoting gift cards on social media, says Shayan Shankar at retail platform Hike. Electronic gift cards make the perfect present for someone who hasn’t got time to visit your store and pick out a present.
Hit Up Your Email List
Great email marketing campaigns are a key part of your holiday season sales strategy. There are a number of tactics that you can use to make your emails stand out and convert.
As a small business, you probably already have an email marketing list that you send promotional emails to, says ShopKeep’s Ryan Gilmore. They should hear about your gift cards just as much as they hear about other products.
He recommends adding value by creating a holiday gift guide that includes your gift card alongside other popular items. This means the email looks less like a sales message and more like a helpful source of information. Any special gift-card related offers should be emailed separately to your customers, too.
Sending emails to your customers is a very efficient gift card promotion method, writes George Scott, team manager at sales software service provider Spektrix. “With an eye-catching email template and some clever marketing tactics, you could see your gift voucher sales rise significantly.”
If you’re looking for proof that it works, Scott points to Sheffield Theatres in the UK, who have seen a significant jump in gift voucher sales following an email marketing campaign. Although the theatre sells gift vouchers year-round, they implemented a seasonal push, which saw the sell over £11,000 worth of vouchers in September, £16,500 vouchers in October, £28,500 in November and £80,000 in December.
A Christmas Eve email promoting gift vouchers as excellent last-minute presents was particularly successful. The email achieved a 28 percent open rate and sold £4,000 worth of vouchers.
Give your customers enough time to actually make a decision to buy, even when it’s a last-minute purchase. The team at Square recommends sending out emails promoting your gift cards just before big holiday events, like Black Friday.
Another tactic is to advertise your gift card alongside product or service promotions, says Max Hoffman at VoucherCart. Even if customers don’t purchase the product or service, they might be sold on the prospect of a gift card that can be used for anything. Also, gift cards are particularly useful for service-based sales where the recipient might wish to redeem them after the holidays.
Get Noticed on Google
So far, we have only discussed free tactics that promote gift cards across your owned media properties. Now it’s time to talk about paid advertising.
Google Adwords provides a relatively inexpensive way to promote your gift cards, writes the team at Zenoti, a cloud-based software solution provider for spas and salons. The benefit of Adwords is that you can target specific keywords. This allows you to promote your store’s gift cards when users search broad queries like “spa gift cards” as well as searches that are specific to your brand.
Another way to promote your gift cards through Google is to use Merchant Promotions, notes Wordstream’s Conor Bond. “Although you can never go wrong with a discounted price or free shipping, I think a particularly good offer for the holiday season is a gift card. Why? Because it allows shoppers to show their loved ones that they’re thoughtful while also giving them a little bit of insurance.”
Through Google Shopping’s Merchant Promotions, retailers can include a free gift card when customers spend over a certain amount. To be clear, this gift card is offered for free, but it is still a great way to encourage users to complete an online order while adding an incentive for them to return to your store after the holidays.