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The Rise of Gift Cards: Promoting Your Gift Card Offerings

Gift cards belong to an extremely select group of items that are universally adored by both gift givers and gift recipients. For gift givers, picking out the right thing can be difficult (is this the right color? The right style? Will he/she like this?), so gift cards offer a quick, easy, no-decisions-required present. And gift cards are incredibly versatile as well – they can be given to friends, relatives, co-workers, etc. For gift recipients, gift cards are useful, helpful, and valuable – they can pick out what they like or need.

If you don’t believe me, check out the results from a survey conducted by the Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA). According to the 1,000 consumers who were surveyed regarding their attitudes, behaviors, and preferences of giving and receiving retail gift cards, 71.3% said they feel very satisfied when they receive a retail gift card as a gift, and 91.4% report that they plan to give one to three retail gift cards as gifts in the next three months.

According to RGCA executive director Rebekka Rea, “This survey shows that gift card continue to evolve in terms of their utility for many gifting occasions and they continue to be coveted by recipients.”

This survey confirms that with a lot of people choosing to purchase gift cards from retailers, it’s important to incorporate these highly desirable commodities into an online retail merchandising strategy.

Optimize Your Website

Having a clean, uncluttered, easily navigable website is the fundamental basis of good e-commerce site design, but it also helps achieve a couple different goals in regards to gift cards.

Firstly, having a site that prominently and attractively displays your merchandise, and that displays it in an organized and intuitive fashion, shows what a wide selection of different, high quality products you offer. And this conveys to shoppers that buying a gift card to your store would be a good purchase. 

It may seem like an obvious point, but to consumers, what your website looks like is a reflection of your business itself. For example, if a brick-and-mortar store looks shabby, run-down, and cluttered, is it going to inspire a ton of foot traffic? No. If an online store is outdated, slow, and confusing, is it going to inspire a ton of web traffic? No.

Secondly, if your merchandise is displayed prominently, then that means your gift card offerings can be prominently displayed too. If people can quickly check out what kinds of gift cards you offer, then they will be more motivated to purchase them as well.

The Rise of Gift Cards: Promoting Your Gift Card Offerings

By showing what kinds of gift cards you offer, and by making the process for getting those gift cards easy and painless, you encourage shoppers to add them to their shopping carts.

Run a Promotion

Even though posting your gift cards on your online store is a good first step toward publicizing your gift card offerings, generating more awareness (and excitement) through promotions is another way to convert gift card sales.

Since budget-conscious shoppers these days are mindful of getting the best bang for their buck, bundled promotions are helpful in appealing to their value mindset. For example, running an annual special around the holidays where if customers buy $100 worth of gift cards, they receive an item that’s worth $30. Even if a shopper wants to purchase a gift card for another person, that shopper will be more likely to actually buy it if there’s value to him as the purchaser (we all want a good deal!).

Expand Your Marketing Lists

Since positive word-of-mouth advertising is one of the most powerful and effective ways to get your company out there, making sure that your customers know about your gift card options is helpful way to boosting gift card purchase conversions. By building up your email marketing lists, you’re able to expand your outreach to customers, which leads to indirect exposure through their sharing to relatives and friends.

Since people are not always keen to provide personal information because of the fear of receiving a bunch of spam mail, the best way to get them to volunteer their details is to make it worth their while. Even a really small incentive, like giving customers who subscribe to your email list a 5- or 10%-off coupon for their next purchase is helpful for communicating that you understand the importance of their information, and that you want to provide them value for it.

And do remember to focus on providing value in your email campaigns. If you send too many sales-y and promotion-y emails, customers are going to tune out or unsubscribe. By being sure to give useful information in your emails in addition to promotions, you will increase your chances of getting customers to consistently open your emails.

For more information on how to improve your e-commerce channel’s gift card offering, please email us at ecommerce@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Product Marketing Specialist at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of CRMeCommerce and ERP, software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify has won the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2013, 2012 and 2011. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 7 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc. Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine from 2007 to 2013.

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