Gift cards can create retail ripples that extend well beyond the holiday-buying season. Shoppers love to give gift cards and re-gift gift cards, and have even been shown to spend over the value of a gift card multiple times.
A gift card is both a guaranteed sale and an open invitation to explore your store, and the digital age has made accessing this powerful holiday sales tool easier than ever.
You can create a unique gift card program—with your own branding and personalized incentives—from within your point of sale system without any additional cost and use it to maintain the energy of holiday retail year-round.
Gift Card Programs Keep Giving
Gift cards are consistently among the most popular items purchased over the peak holiday season. In fact, they’ve been rated as such for the past 13 consecutive years. That same review also found the average American will spend a third of their holiday budget on gift cards, which amounts to more than $200.
Further adding to the gift card appeal is the additional life it takes on beyond the initial exchange. Research has shown that about one-third of consumers who receive a gift card will reload its value, and that they will end up spending around $59 more in store than the gift card’s face value.
Not to mention that around a quarter of Americans have re-gifted a gift card, which adds a second round of exposure to the brand that is displayed on that card without any additional expense—that is an advantage well worth exploring.
Creating a Gift Card Program
A gift card program begins with your inventory management system. Before you can think about the marketing, brand, and sales advantages to offer, you must ensure you can accurately track the financials.
The most effective way to do this is to tie your gift card programs directly to your inventory and wider business tools. If you have a digital POS system, then your gift cards can account for a hold against your inventory until activated. Integrating your sales and accounting software through a cloud computing network keeps track of every spend and sale, so when the card is eventually used you don’t double count your revenue and end up with an error in your system.
The leading POS solutions will have gift card functionality built-in, so there’s no additional cost beyond your monthly subscription fee, and you’ll be ready to start making decisions about your unique brand and incentives as soon as your larger business system is up and running.
Those decisions include:
- Gift card design
- Gift card functionality
- Standard vs. promotional cards
- Loyalty program inclusion
- Sales and customer tracking
Let’s take a closer look at what making those key decisions entail.
1. Gift Card Design
Think of your physical gift card as an invitation to your business. You want it to look enticing and professional, and accurately convey your brand’s personality. With high-resolution imagery and a robust plastic build, your gift card should include your company name, logo, and a promise of value.
2. Gift Card Functionality
The other side of gift card design is its functionality. Your card can digitally connect to your POS system via a magstripe, barcode, or QR code. There are advantages to all three options, but generally, a magnetic stripe offers superior security while lacking durability, and a QR code has smartphone functionality while lacking the accessibility to a standard product scanner.
Whichever you choose, the card should effortlessly link to the customer’s information stored within your POS system.
3. Standard vs. Promotional Cards
If you design your own gift card programs within your POS system, you can offer a range of customer incentives. There is the traditional cash value format where the holder has the right to a set figure, or you can offer more promotional- or event-driven cards, such as:
- Specific line or seasonal item access.
- Store discounts, which often work on a sliding scale depending on an item’s value.
- 2-for-1 or other packaged items.
- Limited time offers with higher rewards over shorter time periods.
- Restrictions on card reloads to heighten unique value.
This variety can help you maximize the impact of your gift card programs and stretch out the benefit beyond the holiday sales period.
4. Loyalty Program Inclusion
Americans love loyalty programs. More than 80% belong to at least one and they cover every type of commercial retail from groceries to automotive specialties. When you create your own gift card programs in a digital POS setting, you can use them as an introductory point to a loyalty program, an incentive to encourage others to join, or a reward for repeat purchases.
The process of tracking customer information and sales history within your POS system is the same as with a one-off card or long-term program, so there’s no reason why you can’t leverage one to benefit the other.
5. Sales and Customer Tracking
In addition to giving your customer another way to shop with you, gift card programs are a great opportunity to learn more about your customers. If your gift cards are linked to an all-in-one POS platform, you can track customer demographics, sales histories, preferences, and any other interaction you can enter in your network-connected devices.
Whether they are first-time shoppers or regulars, you can track what they buy and why, and use this information to better target your market.
The holiday period provides a heightened retail energy, but if you can track your customer habits and find out what attracts them to your store or any particular offering, you can use that information to maintain appeal long after the tinsel gets packed away.
Gift Card Programs Create Long-Term Value
Gift card programs are a versatile tool that can not only generate immediate revenue during the holiday season, but can also be used to grow the long-term value of a brand. Ninety percent of people who received a gift card from a small business they had not previously visited said they would shop at the business in-person and return in the future. The availability of a gift card program in this instance allows your existing customers to actively recruit new customers who have essentially already committed money on a purchase from your store before ever seeing what you have to offer.
That’s a powerful way to stretch the excitement of the holiday period into a reliable, repeatable year-round venture.
The powerful POS solutions created by talech allow you to build a gift card program that attracts customers and increases sales year-round. We use information from your business to effectively streamline your solution to suit your goals.