No matter how big or small your business, you can experience tangible benefits from offering gift cards. A powerful sales and branding tool, gift cards are a proven way to attract new customers, encourage repeat business, and increase average ticket size. Another plus: as a prepaid purchase, gift cards garner cash upfront, and most redemptions result in sales above the original value of the gift card.
And gift card sales are skyrocketing—consumers spend an average of $213/year on gift cards. And while Christmas and birthdays are the most popular occasions to give or receive gift cards, consumers purchase them throughout the year. In fact, 93 percent of U.S. consumers buy or receive at least one gift card a year.
Here are 5 easy ways you can use gift cards to drive revenue at your business:
1. Run a flash gift card promotion
Take a tip from Tipsy Turtle Pub & Eatery. The popular sports bar ran a Black Friday promotion that was so successful, it resulted in $45,000 in gift card sales within just two hours. Additionally, same store sales increased by 20 percent and regular gift card sales rose by 500 percent following the promotion.
How did they do it?
- For two hours on Black Friday, customers could purchase gift cards for 50 percent off
- The promotion was advertised in both restaurant locations for two weeks prior to the event
- The business had to turn away customers at the end of the promotion, and give employees an additional hour to process all the orders
2. Give bulk discounts to businesses and organizations
Gift cards offer a whole new level of sophistication that can bring new business opportunities. Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory, for example, replaced their “Fuzzibucks” paper gift certificates with physical gift cards from Vantiv. The novelty candy store saw their business shift to professional organizations like banks that use their gift cards as employee rewards and incentives.
How can you do it?
- Offer local businesses a discount on bulk gift card purchases during the holidays for employee gifts, or throughout the year for work anniversaries, incentives, and employee retirements
- Distribute promotional material about your business discounts at local business networking events
3. Offer both digital and physical cards
Consumers expect gift cards wherever they shop—65 percent ask retailers if they offer gift cards. And eGift cards are just as popular, with 91 percentof consumers saying they like that the cards are “quick and easy” to buy.
Offering both physical and digital gift cards gives your customers greater freedom in gifting, which they appreciate. Take Gourmet Donuts, for example. The homemade donut shop implemented Vantiv’s StoreCard solution, which gives consumers the flexibility to convert their plastic card to a digital eGift card. The business sold over 2,000 gift cards in 15 days.
Why do consumers love a digital/physical card solution?
- The cards are mobile—consumers can store them on their mobile device
- They are reloadable—auto-reload features ensure card funds never run out
- They work well for multi-store locations—cards can be purchased at one location and used at another
4. Offer gift card promotions on social media or to your customer email list
Leverage your social media followers and customer email list by creating a promotion just for that audience. Encourage your followers to share your post or forward the email to their friends, extending the reach of your promotion. Letting current customers help spread the word about your business saves money on advertising, and customer recommendations go a long way in attracting new business.
How can you do it?
- Offer your social media followers 10% off gift cards on the anniversary of your business opening or another special occasion
- Encourage shares of your promotional posts by holding a drawing for a free gift card for followers who like and share your post
5. Use gift cards to reward loyal customers or apologize for mistakes
Gift cards are a great way to let loyal customers know you appreciate them, and win back the business of those who’ve had a negative experience. Cash back rewards, like those offered through Vantiv’s StoreCard solution, create customer loyalty and encourage loading and reloading of funds. When a customer has a subpar experience, offering a gift card to return another time is a small gesture that can change a customer’s status from fair weather to regular.
Since 72 percent of consumers will spend more than the value of their gift card, and recipients will spend 20 percent more than the value on their card, you’re nearly guaranteed to recoup the funds you give away.
How can you do it?
- Sign up for a turnkey rewards program like Vantiv StoreCard, which allows you to designate the amount of cash back customers receive when they use their card.
- When customers express dissatisfaction with your service or make a return, offer a gift card to encourage them to give your business a second chance
Contact Vantiv to start growing your business today with a gift card program.