Gift cards play an important role, especially around the holiday shopping season, when 30% of all retail sales occur. Most major online stores offer them to drive sales and give customers a wider range of purchasing options. And the demand for them is increasing: In 2019, the global gift card market was valued at more than $619 billion, and is projected to reach $1.9 trillion by 2027.
If you aren’t already offering gift cards to your customers, the holidays are the perfect time to start!
Seven reasons to offer gift cards
1. Boost order values
Nearly two-thirds of gift card recipients spend an average of 38% more than the value of their cards. They get a gift card from a loved one, visit a store to redeem it, and end up falling in love with so many products that they spend what’s on the card, and then some. Offer gift cards and, not only could you earn income from the original sale, you might also gain a new fan.
2. Add new products without extra overhead
Digital gift cards are highly efficient for store owners: They don’t require physical storage or shipping, and the process of creating and tracking them can be automated. Most of the costs are related to marketing and selling the cards online.
3. Attract new customers
Let’s say an existing customer gives a gift card to a loved one who’s never shopped in your store before — now you’ve got a new customer! Gift cards are also a great marketing tool that can be used to attract new shoppers through social media, email, or other advertising methods.
4. Offer safe, convenient gift options
Gift cards are always a sure bet for customers who don’t know what to get their loved ones for the holidays. In the middle of a pandemic, they’re a sure bet for everyone: Customers can purchase them from the comfort and safety of their homes, and recipients can use them to shop online. It’s no surprise that the demand for digital gift cards has recently spiked: A survey shows that the volume sold in 2020 is up 74% from 2019.
5. Reduce returns
Customers often purchase gift cards because they’re worried about picking out just the right item, size, or color. Gift cards make shopping easier because they let the recipient decide what to order. That reduces the chance of product returns and the associated hassles, like restocking fees and shipping expenses. Better for the customer, for the gift card recipient, and for you — that’s a shopping experience we can get behind!
6. Increase customer engagement
Why not give loyal customers a gift card once they spend a certain amount in your store? Or, if you offer subscription products, consider rewarding long-time subscribers with a gift card, which in turn may encourage them to upgrade to a higher subscription tier. A gift card is also a great incentive for shoppers who haven’t purchased in a while to pay a visit.
7. Encourage positive reviews
We know that gift cards can help reduce returns, give purchasing flexibility, and provide a way to incentivize and re-engage your customers. These types of positive shopping experiences are likely to generate good reviews for your products and your brand.
How to make the most of gift cards this holiday season
1. Make them customizable
With the Gift Cards extension, you can create cards for specific occasions and allow your customers to include personalized messages.
2. Allow delivery at a later date
Let customers choose a future delivery date, like Christmas Day. Shoppers can buy all their gift cards at once and schedule them for delivery at just the right time for each recipient.
3. Let customers choose the amount
The Gift Cards extension integrates seamlessly with the Name Your Price extension, which means customers can buy gift cards for any amount they want. Shoppers will appreciate the convenience of giving gifts that fit their budgets.
4. Reward customers who purchase gift cards
With the Smart Coupons extension, you can offer discounts on future purchases to shoppers who buy gift cards . You can even advertise the offer (e.g. “Buy a $50 gift card for a friend and get $10 off your next purchase”) to boost sales.
5. Reward your affiliates
If you use the Affiliate for WooCommerce extension, you can reward the performance of your store’s affiliates with holiday bonuses in the form of gift cards. A little motivation can go a long way toward keeping affiliates engaged with your brand.
6. Donate gift cards to fundraisers
Support your community and introduce your brand to new customers by donating gift cards to local nonprofits for fundraising purposes. Even people who don’t end up winning a gift card in, say, a holiday auction or raffle will see your brand — and maybe they’ll be inspired to shop at your store.
7. Give away gift cards on social media
Grow your audience and increase user-generated content by offering gift cards as part of a social media giveaway. Tried and true digital marketing techniques — like “like/share to be entered to win” and photo caption contests — are easy ways to gain more followers and boost digital engagement. You could even ask your followers to submit a photo or video of themselves with one of your products in exchange for a chance to win a gift card — that doubles as a great way to generate content for your website.
8. Offer gift cards that work online, and off
If your store has a physical location, consider adding the PDF Product Vouchers extension to your site. Customers can redeem printed vouchers for salon services, tickets, yoga classes, products, to-go meals — anything that makes sense for your business.
9. Use gift cards as checkout upsells
Gift cards make excellent product recommendations at checkout, especially if you offer free shipping based on cart value. With the Product Recommendations extension, you can suggest a gift card as a quick, easy way for customers to earn free shipping if they’re trying to hit the minimum cart value Or you can position gift cards as great holiday presents that only require a few extra clicks.
10. Market them after holiday shipping deadlines have passed
There are always shoppers looking for last-minute presents who know that physical deliveries won’t make it in time for the holidays. Gift cards are a great option for these customers. Consider adding a site-wide banner that promotes digital gift cards in the last few days before the holidays.
Act soon to get all the benefits!
Gift cards are a simple, cost-effective way to increase sales, improve customer retention, gain new fans, and provide a more flexible shopping experience. With the holidays fast approaching and the demand for digital gift cards increasing, now is the perfect time to add gift cards to your store.