Gift Cards = Instant Revenue

What is expected to be the most asked for gift this holiday for the seventh year in a row? What is the one product you can sell that guarantees more sales, repeat business, new customers and a sale for more than the original price? What product should you sell this holiday season that many small businesses overlook, but shouldn’t? The answer to all of these questions is the same: store gift cards.

According to the National Retail Federation, this year will mark the seventh year in a row that consumers have ranked store gift cards as the most asked for gift this holiday season. Less people are willing to give cash to someone on their shopping list, but they are more than willing to buy those same people a store gift card. Consumers feel that giving a gift shows they know something about the recipient and made a valiant attempt to buy something unique and personal for them.

Gift cards are also one of the best ways for stores to make money with very little effort. Gift cards take up the least amount of floor space in your already packed store. They can be personalized with your store’s logo, instantly creating an extension of your marketing campaign. Not only will the recipient be reminded of your store, so will the buyer and anyone else who comes into contact with the card over the holidays. Maybe a fellow angler of the recipient didn’t know about your store, or has always wondered what it is like. This will create a conversation and hopefully it is a positive one that will generate more new customers.

It is reported that when gift cards are redeemed, seventy percent of the time the final sale is one and a half times more than the value of the gift card. Consumers are also more likely to buy an item at full price than on sale when they have a gift card to pay for part of the purchase.

Maximize Gift Cards
First, use your advertising tools to get the word out about them! It sounds easy but many businesses fail to do this because they feel they will just sell themselves. Have in-store signage wherever possible, especially at cash registers. Have your employees offer them as an add-on to every sale they make. If they make the suggestion to each customer, and back that suggestion up with how they are one-size-fits-all perfect gifts for any angler on their shopping list, your sales will increase. Finally, include them in all ads that you produce this holiday season.

Next, you need to ensure your gift cards are packaged in a nice package. While packaging costs can increase the overall cost to you, if you are judicious in your research you can find an affordable package that will catch customers’ eyes and keep you in the black. A well-presented gift card will also be more pleasing to the end recipient. If you want to become creative, design and create a special gift card package that is available for an additional cost. Try to keep the cost down and if possible have it just cover your costs. While this won’t make you more money initially, it will create an alternative presentation for shoppers to choose from.

The final way to maximize your gift card program is promotion! Not only through your advertising but also through your social media campaigns. Here are some ways to promote your gift card program:

  • Create a bonus program for your shoppers to receive a $10 gift card for every $100 they spend in your store. If you do this though, have the gift cards not valid until January or after the holidays to ensure your customers will return then.
  • Hold drawings or giveaways for them in-store and especially through Facebook. While giving away ten $10 gift cards sounds like you are giving away $100, you are in fact almost ensuring ten shopping experiences, and ten sales for more than the $10 the gift card is valued at. If the winners do not redeem them, then you have lost nothing, but you have gained a free promotional experience.
  • Gift cards are also a great way to handle in-store credit for returns or refunds. Instead of taking cash from your register that may not be spent in your store, give customers a gift card for the value of their refund. This will not only keep the money in your store, but it will also prompt them to shop at your store again, where they are more likely to make a purchase greater than the value of the gift card.
  • Gift cards to your store also make a perfect donation item to schools or local organizations that may ask you for one. They will give you instant promotion, and show your community spirit.
  • Finally, offer added value on certain price level gift card purchases. If a customer buys a $50 gift card, add $5, for a $100 gift card, add an additional $10. Another option is to give the buyer a gift card for the $5 or $10 as a thank you for shopping in your store and buying a gift card. If you go with the last option you can almost ensure two shopping experiences where with just a regular gift card sale you were only counting on one.

Play with your advertising, packaging and promotion of gift cards; see what works and what customers take the most advantage of. This will help you grow and maximize your gift card program.

How are you using gift cards in your store to increase sales, cash flow and generate more shopping experiences? Share your thoughts with your fellow fishing tackle retailers on our Facebook page or in our LinkedIn group.