Great gift card designs and what your brand can learn from them
Most successful business owners already understand the benefits of offering gift cards to their customers and take advantage of the additional revenue stream they create for their business. In fact, some businesses are so successful at designing and marketing their gift cards, that they’ve become a collectible commodity.
You may not be looking to create a cult following for your gift cards, but there’s definitely value in looking at popular design trends and applying some of the concepts to your own cards to boost sales.
A consumer survey by CardCash.com reports that 70 percent of surveyed women plan on gifting a card within the next three months, and are two times more likely than men to buy a card because of the design. Stocking your display counter with attractive cards that customers are drawn to, and that fit the gift giving occasion for which they’re being purchased could significantly increase your gift card sales.
Let’s take a look at some popular brands and their creative gift card designs for inspiration.
Target is an obvious choice for gift card inspiration. With a long history of creating amazing gift certificate cards, their strategy sits at the crossroads between fun and innovative. They often have multi-dimensional, interactive card designs on display and a unique card for every special occasion and season.
An edible gift card? A gift card that records a message from the giver? These outside the box gift cards are pop culture heavy, full of imagination, and are all together irresistible.
Creating designs for gift cards that mirror the company’s logo and brand is a popular strategy. It’s a great way to reinforce your brand identity since gift cardsdouble as miniature advertisements that customers carry in their wallets.
But a card with strong brand association doesn’t mean it can’t also be creative. Take Whole Foods for example. Scroll through their layouts and notice that although their cards always display their logo, they also incorporate other elements that evoke Whole Food’s identity. The hand-drawn wholesomeness of the designs, the simplicity of the messaging, their association with products that can be purchased at Whole Foods like fresh produce and craft beer—all these elements reinforce the Whole Foods brand without being stuck in a two-color logo-centric design.
Another interesting aspect of the Whole Foods cards is that they do offer some artistic imagery for specific gift giving occasions, like the Happy Birthday card, but are mostly suggestive of specialty items that may be purchased with the gift card like beauty products, deserts, beer, and produce.
Another company that focuses on leveraging their products more so than their overall brand is Disney. Disney admittedly has the advantage of easy pickings due to their extensive and widely popular character collection. But don’t let that deter you. Your business doesn’t have to have the notoriety of Disney characters in order to put your assets to work.
Think about the type of qualities, products, or atmosphere you offer that attracts customers to visit and spend money at your business. Consider capturing and leveraging those aspects in your gift card art.
Another notable aspect of the Disney approach is the presentation. The layout on the cards is part of a larger image printed onto the card packaging, and some, like the Christmas collection, even come with a matching pin. Pins are a popular Disney merchandise item that has a collectible value, which further increases the attraction of these cards.
And just think about how much Disney saves in credit card transaction fees when their theme park visitors load funds onto these attractive and collectible cards to use on the property in lieu of cash.
Home Depot gets a place of honor among our top gift card images because of their prowess with themed occasions and product/brand identity creativity. Nails and tape measures don’t necessarily sound like appealing product images, until you see Home Depot’s wedding themed cards. A bow made out of a tape measure is surprisingly satisfying.
It’s nearly impossible to look at one of their cards and not instantly have a strong guess as to which business it represents (even without a logo). And they don’t stop with those two wedding themed cards. They have an entire collection of cards dedicated to weddings, featuring a variety of home improvement themed products. Their collection is a brilliant mix of traditionally masculine hardware products with a traditionally feminine wedding theme—and it works.
Customers shopping for other special occasion gifts won’t be disappointed. Home Depot has creative birthday themed cards, Mother’s and Father’s Day themed cards and all occasion cards so there’s sure to be something to satisfy every shopper and giver.
Nordstrom offers a full spectrum of colorful winter holiday themed cards that range from being slightly reminiscent of the holidays to being overtly red and green Christmas themed. The collection reflects the understated sophistication that seems to guide Nordstrom’s merchandising approach without directly replicating their brand.
The designs are bright, artful, and subtly evoke images of gift-giving. The three wise men fabled to have brought gifts to the infant Jesus appear on one card, and nutcrackers which are gifted to Clara in the famous Nutcracker Ballet story appear on others.
When you’re planning your gift card marketing, keep peoples’ varied preferences regarding holiday themes and colors in mind. Be sure to offer at least one that leans toward the neutral side, favoring winter themes rather than specific holiday imagery.
Starbucks arguably has a cult following of customers for every product they sell. Consider their 2017 summer release of the Unicorn Frappuccino for example. Their approach to gift cards is no exception.
Back in 2015, Starbucks created nearly 200 cards representing 30 different countries around the world. They have also launched collections of cards representing the 50 states, modern fashion design, international holidays, and more.
The beauty of this strategy is that the cards have value in and of themselves, apart from the monetary value of the funds loaded on the cards. Special releases timed to coincide with internal promotions and other various aspects of social culture at large contribute to their success.
How could your business create demand for your special cards? Check out some of our other ideas for successfully promoting your gift cards here.