One of the most popular items in stores during the holidays might be one that you wouldn’t guess: gift cards. They are consistently the most requested holiday gift year after year and no longer regarded as last-minute options. Thanks to their versatility, gift cards have become popular forms of payment that provide gifting opportunities for not only retailers, but gaming titles, online ecosystems, subscriptions and more. Gaming and consumer electronics retailers should consider adjusting their holiday sales strategies and adding this powerful tool to their arsenals.
Holiday gift card sales are a great source of revenue because consumers want to both buy and receive them. Here are some ways to be more deliberate and creative with your holiday gift card promotions to drive sales, direct shopper behavior, and maybe even create a year-long engagement.
- Offer incentives. Giving shoppers rewards for participating in certain gift card promotions can help seal the deal at checkout because you provide added value that consumers can’t ignore. Doling out loyalty points to customers for making specific denomination purchases can help them accrue rewards quickly, save them money, and keep them coming back for more. People are also increasingly using gift cards for themselves—often as a special treat—and providing gift cards as rewards creates a positive experience with your brand that they’re likely to remember. Research has shown that reward-based promotions, like those that reward shoppers with perks for buying gift cards, can outperform discounts by driving better purchase intent and sales lift without damaging brands’ images from discounting. Incentives are a perfect way to engage holiday shoppers and create or maintain meaningful, fruitful and long-lasting relationships.
- Pair gift card promotions with electronics merchandise. Shoppers won’t only be going to your store to buy gift cards during the holidays. The latest cameras, tablets, smartphones, computers, gaming equipment and other electronics will be on their shopping lists, so why not couple those sales with gift card promotions for a double win? Merchandise can pair nicely with gift cards to create more thoughtful gifts, provide shoppers with added rewards for buying specific products, and encourage higher spending. For instance, consumers that spend $100 in gift cards could receive a free set of headphones or movie download; conversely, those that buy certain TVs or laptops could receive a $100 gift card for their next in-store purchase. Either way, they’re buying your products and contributing to your bottom line.
- Think beyond end caps. While end cap displays are important, they’re not the only part of your store that should encourage gift card sales during the holidays. Neither are checkout displays. Try to branch out a little bit (pun intended) and create tree, menorah, garland or other holiday-themed displays. You can also create “displays” that actually move around your store; attaching gift cards to employee uniforms or hosting in-store contests can help make presentation more fun and interactive. And don’t forget to provide dynamic packaging and personalization options. More than 60 percent of consumers feel a greeting card or a gift card personalized with their own message makes the gift feel more thoughtful.
- Assemble a smart gift card mix. Offering different denominations can cover the spread between stocking stuffers and standalone gifts. A broad assortment of gift card designs and packaging options also helps ensure you have something for everyone on shoppers’ holiday lists. A limited selection of gift cards reduces shoppers’ options and your ability to amplify sales and revenue.
- Encourage online gift card sales. People don’t just shop in-store for gift cards and they don’t just want physical cards. Keep in mind that you can drive online traffic via web promotions to reach more digitally-savvy shoppers. This sales channel is often overlooked but represents a tremendous year-round growth opportunity. Research by Blackhawk Network found that more than half of the consumers surveyed report interest in giving digital gift cards that can be added to a mobile app or digital wallet, especially millennials and smart phone users.
With the holidays just around the corner, now is the time to lock down your holiday gift card program strategy. Take the time to create unique and effective gift card promotions and rewards to drive sales and generate customer satisfaction that can turn into year-round engagement with your customers.
Theresa McEndree is the Vice President of Marketing at Hawk Incentives, a Blackhawk Network Business delivering incentive programs that build relationships with easy-to-use platforms, global rewards and comprehensive service and support.