Gift card programs have proven their value in the marketplace, claiming nearly $6 billion in Canadian gift spending each year. But an essential component of a profitable gift card program for any business is the ability to maximize its visibility and in turn, maximize profits.
Here are a 5 tips to get your gift card program off the ground and make it an integral part of your revenue stream.
1. Increase Customer Awareness
If customers don’t know you have a gift card program, it is impossible for them to consider it an option when making a gift purchase.
- Among the easiest ways to improve visibility is to train sales clerks to promote your gift cards. If a customer is having a difficult time finding a gift from your store, sales clerks can suggest a gift card as an option.
- Consider putting up signage around the store to advertise your program. Payment processors that support gift card programs often carry customized or branded promotional materials to help with this.
- Lastly – including gift card advertising as part of other marketing campaigns is a great way to ensure customers are aware and reminded of your program’s existence.
2. Promote, Promote, Promote
Signage and word-of-mouth are great, but you will likely need to actively promote your own gift card program if you want it to really take off.
- Special promotions that focus on gift cards bring further attention to the program. Consider rewarding customers with a pre-loaded gift card if they spend a certain amount, purchase specific products, or earn a certain number of loyalty points. This ensures that they will return to your store on a future date – and they’ll probably spend more than the value on the card. It also casually reminds them that you have the program in place as an option for their own gift-giving purposes.
- Donate gift cards to contests or events in which your business participates. They are a perfect addition to “swag bags” or giveaway events that intend to further promote your brand and build clientele.
- Take advantage of key shopping seasons throughout the year (e.g. back-to-school, Black Friday, Christmas, Mother’s Day, etc.) by implementing special gift card promotions during those times.
3. Drive Customer Loyalty
Happy customers lead to positive word-of-mouth, which is well-known as one of your business’ best weapons for success.
- Keep your customers happy by sending them pre-loaded gift cards to award their loyalty, or to celebrate special events such as birthdays and anniversaries. This will not only show appreciation for their continued business, but also better equip them to spread the word.
- Solidify business relationships in a similar manner. Suppliers and business partners are advocates for your business and can quickly become customers themselves if presented with a gift card.
4. Track Program Progress
What better way to fine-tune your gift card strategy, then to take a deeper look at your progress.
Gift Card program providers typically offer reporting and analytics that take a deeper look at the program’s performance. Depending on the scope, these reports can help:
- Identify trends in your program’s performance
- Learn which locations and employees are most successful
- Inform a set of best practices to share across your organization.
You may also consider gathering feedback from customers who have bought or received your gift cards. This feedback is among the most valuable, particularly if you allow customers to remain anonymous.
5. Put in the Effort
Establishing a gift card program is really only the first step in getting the overall program off the ground. To optimize the value of a gift card program, merchants need to invest a bit more effort. By combining activities that increase awareness, promote the program and leverage loyal customers with the valuable insights gained from reporting and analytics you can realize some tremendous benefits from the program.
This article is for informational purposes only and it is not intended to provide you with any personalized financial, marketing, accounting or tax advice. Neither Moneris Solutions Corporation (Moneris) nor any of its affiliates shall be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential or punitive damages arising out of use of any of the information contained in this article. Neither Moneris nor any of its affiliates warrant or make any representation regarding the use or the results of the use of the information, content and materials contained in this article in terms of their correctness, accuracy, reliability or otherwise.
About the Author
As Product Manager, Gift & Loyalty Solutions at Moneris Solutions, Ian focuses on best practices for customer commitment, and strategically positioning the company to succeed in the delivery of value-added products. Ian participates heavily in activities to expand the Moneris client base, explore new business opportunities, invest in product awareness, and improve overall speed to market.More Content by Ian Archambault