Millions of dollars are spent on gift cards annually, especially around the holidays. It should come as no surprise that marketing specialists recommend gift cards for small businesses as a basic strategy for increasing profit. The numerous options available, from electronic to plastic gift cards, make it easy for every business to implement its own gift card program and benefit from it.
Why Use Gift Cards for Small Businesses
There are many benefits associated with small business gift card programs, but the following four are perhaps the most important:
- Attracting more customers – Any customer who gives your gift cards to their friends or relatives will actually be promoting your business and bringing new customers to your door. If those new customers like what they find, they will return and maybe even buy gift cards for their own friends and relatives.
- Higher sales – Statistics show that individuals using gift cards spend more money than those paying cash. Add to that the potential revenue of increasing your customer base, and you can already taste the profits.
- Repeat purchases - Customers receiving gift cards will come to your store to activate their cards, to use them, to check their balance, etc. Every visit increases the likeliness of a sale. If they are satisfied with your products and services, nothing will prevent them from returning and buying again and again.
- Unredeemed gift card balance – It is not uncommon for people to receive gift cards and forget about them or use only part of the available credit.
Of course, enjoying all these benefits depends on how well your gift card program is designed and implemented. Here are five tips on how to make the most out of your gift card program:
- Let the world know you offer gift cards and make them easy to acquire – Announce your gift cards campaign though social networking, newsletters, posters in your brick and mortar shop, banners and e-cards on your website and flyers spread around the city. Consider training your staff to mention the gift card availability every time they ring up a customer.
- Collect contact information - You can use your gift cards program to collect contact details from your customers. You can include them in your mailing list and send them newsletters, discount notices and special campaigns details. Anything that could draw them to your store will be worth gold, and you'll have the opportunity to promote future gift card options when the next holiday season rolls around.
- Use gift cards instead of cash whenever you can - When customers return your products, instead of reimbursing the value of the returned product, include that amount on a gift card. It will force that customer to spend the money in your store. Just outline this clearly in the return policy beforehand. Also, when you organize contests, instead of merchandise or cash prizes, offer gift cards.
- Donate gift cards - Helping charities with fundraisers is a great marketing strategy and can help build your business. Instead of cash or promotional incentives, consider donating gift cards. This way, the beneficiaries will visit your store in order to use the card, and you have more chances to turn them into regular customers. They may also purchase more than what is on the card, giving you a chance to profit that way.
- Award gift cards instead of bonuses and incentives - If you offer sales bonuses to your employees, incentives to buyers spending a certain amount in your stores, gifts to suppliers or major clients, etc., gift cards are your best option to boost your sales and, implicitly, your revenue.
Choosing the Best Gift Cards for Your Business
Since the gift cards will speak of your business, they need to include your brand elements (logo, motto, defining colors, contact information, etc.) as well as inspire professionalism and stir curiosity.
Finding the unique, attractive gift card design to represent your business and determine customers to remember your brand will probably be more difficult than having them designed from scratch. Therefore, it is advisable to work with a company with experience in designing gift cards for small businesses to create the unique gift cards that will help you enjoy all the above described benefits and more.