We’re finding it a challenge to keep our shelves stocked this holiday season, which is a welcome problem after last year’s pandemic downturn.  But there is one item we have an almost limitless supply of: gift cards.  They are the perfect items to promote for a number of reasons:

  1. Gift cards can bring shoppers in during slower months 
  2. Recipients are often potential new customers 
  3. Most people spend more than the amount of the gift card
  4. About 20% of gift cards go unused, which is 100% profit
  5. They’re easy to wrap and inexpensive to mail
  6. Seeing a gift card reminds customers of your store

There are many ways to encourage customers to buy gift cards – the first being having them available in an attractive format, and any denomination.  We have a custom folder printed with our logo on it and use a 3M removable sticky square to affix the card to the inside. It fits in an envelope if the customer doesn’t want to enclose it in a greeting card.

You might also consider a promotion. Some stores offer a gift card of $15, for example, with any $75 purchase.  This encourages customers to spend more in order to reach the $75 level, and also brings them back during the time period that the $15 gift certificate or card is valid.  Others offer a small ($10) gift card for free with the purchase of a large ($100) one. 

Creative packaging can also make giving a gift card more fun for your customer.  Take a look at this blog entry from Etsy –  the ball of yarn wrapping would be perfect for a crafts store.

We also us gift cards as giveaways as charity donations and as an extra free lagniappe in our realtor closing baskets.  Here’s a special idea that could help soften the blow of a popular, expensive item being out of stock until after Christmas.  Back in the 1970s, when Cuisinart food processors were sold out everywhere, they offered us an “empty box” containing just a blade to sell to customers with the promise that the entire machine would arrive in January. While it’s not a good idea to take payment for something you don’t have, you could console disappointed customers with a special complimentary $10 gift card and the promise that they’ll be first in line when this year’s hot item comes back in stock.

As a recent article by business advisors FIS states, “When it comes to gift cards, there’s something for everyone to love. Whether it’s seamless convenience, purchasing flexibility, choice potential or dependable gift-recipient approval, gift cards are a go-to for consumers.” And shopkeepers too!

Happy retailing, 

Carol “Orange” Schroeder