Vend’s 2016 Holiday Retail Boot Camp Day 5: Get the Most Out of Gift Cards

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Yesterday we convinced you to start offering gift cards (if you weren’t already). For those of you who took our advice, here are a few ideas on giving customers that extra push they need to purchase gift cards from you.

DISPLAY THEM FRONT AND CENTER.

Display gift cards proudly in your stores to make sure customers actually see them. Put them on or near your checkout counter, or set up displays in the “gift” section of your shop as well as in any other high-traffic areas.

Fortunately, pulling this off is both easy and inexpensive. A quick search on Amazon for “gift card displays” will return several ready-to-use racks, shelves, and holders you can put in your store. Prices range from less than $10 to around $60.

MOTIVATE YOURSELF AND YOUR ASSOCIATES TO PROACTIVELY MARKET THEM IN-STORE.

Most retailers adopt a passive approach when selling their gift cards. As Kevin Graff pointed out in a previous webinar, merchants often practice benign sales work when it comes to these cards. “They’re there, and if a customer asks for it, then they’ll sell it to you,” he said.

However, Kevin notes that retailers have to encourage gift cards more. “It should be part of your add-on strategy,” he added. You can, for instance, start mentioning gift cards at checkout, or suggest them to customers who haven’t made a purchase and are on their way out of the store.

The bottom line is that retailers have to be more proactive with selling gift cards. Once you do that, he says, you’re going to get a bump in the gift cards you’re selling, and that all translates to more dollars for your store.

PACKAGE THEM NICELY.

Presentation is key when it comes to gift cards — and during the holiday season, how the cards are packaged can actually be a make-or-break factor in consumers’ purchase decisions.

Remember that people are incredibly busy during this time of the year, so if you make the cards look presentable without any effort on their part, you’ll earn extra points in their book.

sephoragift

One of our favorite examples of gift card packaging comes from Sephora. Every gift card purchased from them comes in a special compact mirror and is placed inside a classy paper bag complete with a nice red ribbon.

Try to follow the same route in your gift card efforts. You don’t have to invest in fancy materials to make your cards presentable. There are plenty of inexpensive DIY methods that can do the trick.

SELL THEM AT DISCOUNTED RATES.

Still having trouble moving gift cards off the shelves? Consider tacking on a limited-time discount on your cards. You could, for example, sell $30 gift cards for $25.

This isn’t necessarily an unprofitable move. Studies have shown that consumers tend to spend beyond the original value of the gift card when they redeem it, so you could still turn a profit even if you sell your cards at a slightly lower rate.

REMIND PEOPLE JUST HOW CONVENIENT GIFT CARDS ARE.

Sometimes, you don’t have to push aggressive offers or rewards to incentivize shoppers to buy gift cards. In certain situations, the convenience of gift cards is enticing enough. So don’t forget to remind customers about the inherent benefits of them.

For instance: if you encounter a shopper who’s having a hard time deciding what to purchase, you can bring up the fact that you sell gift cards. The same goes for dealing with customers who are in a rush. As we mentioned earlier, many consumers are pressed for time during the holidays, so you can remind them that your cards always look presentable and are “gift-ready.”

See: Day 6.

About Nikki Michaels

Nikki is Vend's content and copy wizard. American-born and Auckland-based, she's into reading (a lot), writing (obviously), and travelling (always).

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