Why gift cards are essential for summer business.
Hint: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Graduation.
The gift-giving season isn’t limited to the December holidays. Many other important days are celebrated throughout the year, including Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Graduation. As the weather warms up, there are plenty of occasions for gift-giving, and gift cards remain consumers’ top choice.
Gift cards are appreciated by both givers and receivers for many reasons. Those who purchase the cards enjoy convenient shopping, while those who receive gift cards appreciate that they can buy what they want, and not be bothered with the hassle of returning an unwanted item.
Businesses that offer gift cards also enjoy many benefits because the value of the card goes well beyond the actual card. Gift cards are an effective branding tool and extend customer reach. For every gift card sold, at least two people visit the business– the purchaser and the recipient, who may also bring a friend. Another advantage that businesses enjoy when selling gift cards is receiving payment in advance of rendering products or services. Another thing to note, most consumers purchase more than the amount of the gift card––as much as 20% more––which adds up to long-term incremental sales.
In addition to physical gift cards, digital gift cards are gaining popularity. Research indicates that digital gift cards are increasing at an annual rate of about 200 percent. Clearly, consumers have bought into the idea.
The next generation of gift cards offers more than loyalty
The introduction of digital gift cards has transformed business loyalty programs in so many ways. Many digital gift cards are loaded with additional features and loyalty-building services.
Digital gift cards make sending, receiving, and redemption much easier. A simple email can deliver an e-gift card, which may or may not be linked to an actual plastic card. E-gift cards are accessible from a customer’s mobile device for easy purchasing with a tap or wave at a POS, making life easy for customers– and for the business.
Tracking is another benefit. Customers can track their purchases and gift card balances in real time, and businesses can track customer purchases and data.
Another big benefit is the ability to reload funds. Reloadable gift cards allow customers to easily add funds onto their own cards or onto the cards of friends and family, encouraging repeat business and long-term loyalty. Reloadable cards extend the life of the card beyond a one-time use card.
Some digital gift card programs offer a geolocation feature, which allows a business to send customers special offers when they are in the vicinity. Other features facilitate the delivery of timely promotional offers tied to special occasions. A café, for example, could send a text to customers offering a free “Mom Mocha” to celebrate Mother’s Day.
Digital gift cards deliver a great consumer experience that also helps boost loyalty. From user-friendly interfaces featuring balances in real time, to the ability to earn loyalty points, reload cards, and pay with a smartphone, digital gift cards are becoming the coolest gifts around.
Gift cards can also be customized to match a business’s brand and differentiate that business in the marketplace. Gift cards are an easy way for customers to refer friends and family to their favorite local shops, restaurants, and e-commerce stores. Sharing is downright fun––especially with younger consumers.
Vantiv offers a gift card with the advanced capabilities mentioned above. Vantiv StoreCard features an enhanced mobile customer experience, and is a proven way to boost sales volume– by 49 percent on average. Plus, here’s an extra perk: StoreCard even allows customers to send custom-printed plastic cards to friends and family.
More gift card ideas for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Graduation
There’s no limit to gift card promotional ideas. So what’s the best way to attract the most customers during the summer holiday season?
One way is to tie your card promotions around summer vacation and leisure. Clothing, outdoor gear and sports are especially in demand during the summer. Retailers can build their Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Graduation Day promotions around the products they offer. A golf supply shop, for example, could suggest a gift card for dads to celebrate the day on the greens. A bed-and-breakfast business could offer a gift card for a special getaway for moms on Mother’s Day.
Outdoor cafés and bistros can position gift cards as a way to give the recipient an experience, rather than an object to take home. Mother’s Day Brunch at a special restaurant makes a great gift for most any mom.
Retailers that sell home items can capitalize on gift cards for grads preparing for college. For incoming college freshman, nothing’s better than picking out your own home décor and a gift card makes it easy.
Now’s the time to start planning how you can capitalize on gift cards to drive sales during the busy summer holidays. Be sure to let your customers know how gift cards are the perfect gift for the special people in their lives––especially moms, dads and grads.