Gift Cards: 3 Proven Ways to Boost Sales in 2024

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You own an eCommerce store, and it didn’t take you long to realise that standing out and really pooling in those customers is far from easy. And with traditional marketing simply not cutting it anymore, you’re searching desperately for a solution to keep business up. 


You see, gift cards are a particularly genius marketing tool, that’s both beneficial to customers and lucrative for you. 


Think about it: they’re the perfect gift choice for the indecisive shopper, they give that extra nudge to spend more, and they can turn your customers into brand ambassadors. You want to resonate with them and keep them coming back for more. But how does it work? You may ask.


Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here are 3 proven ways to use gift cards to boost your sales. But first, let’s talk about:


How Gift Cards Can Create New Returning Customers


How Gift Cards Can Create New Returning Customers


So, imagine you have a customer, let’s call them Alex, who buys a gift card from your store as a present for their friend, Jamie. Now, Jamie might not have shopped with you before, but thanks to Alex’s gift, you’ve got a new visitor. This is your golden chance to make a stellar impression. 


When Jamie uses their gift card, you learn a bit about them – what they like, their email, and maybe even their birthday if Alex was thoughtful enough to share. This info is gold dust. Why? Because now you can tailor your follow-up communication. 


A simple, “Hey Jamie, enjoyed that coffee mug you picked? We’ve got more in stock!” 


Here’s where it gets interesting. Jamie’s happy with their purchase, and they remember your store next time they’re shopping. 


Plus, Alex sees how much Jamie liked the gift. Next thing you know, both of them are more likely to shop with you again. And just like that, gift cards have woven a web of loyalty and repeat business.


But wait, there’s more.


Let’s not forget the subtle art of upselling. Often, gift card recipients spend more than the card’s value. It’s like they’re thinking, “Well, I’ve got $50 covered; why not splurge a bit?” And voila, a brand new opportunity for you to boost your sales even further.


Now, I always like to keep things real with you, and here’s the thing. 


I’ve seen this play out in my store. Once, a customer bought a gift card for a friend who had never visited us before. The friend bought a pair of sneakers and ended up becoming a regular, even signing up for our loyalty program. 


Real story, I promise. 


It showed me the power of gift cards to create lasting customer relationships. And it showed me the power of indirect referrals. You see, no one’s forcibly forcing a sales pitch into someone else’s throat. It’s simply a friend helping another, and indirectly referring to your store.


So, what’s the takeaway for you? 


Start promoting those gift cards! Make them visible and attractive. Consider running a campaign around them, maybe offering a small discount or bonus with every gift card purchase. 

Capturing new customers’ interest is one thing; delivering their choices effectively is another, so make sure you use good fulfilment agencies.


Ok, now let’s talk about how you can implement it in your store.


3 Easy Steps to Increase Your Sales


1. Make Finding and Buying Gift Cards a Breeze


Make Finding and Buying Gift Cards a Breeze


Let’s get straight to the point: if your customers have to play detective to find your gift cards, that’s a problem. You want those cards front and center on your website. 


Your website should make finding and buying gift cards as straightforward as possible. Think about placing gift cards where everyone can see them as soon as they land on your homepage. 




Because if customers have to search hard to find them, chances are they might give up. And we don’t want that.

Got me thinking that the smoother the buying process, the better. It’s a bit like how fulfilment services smooth out shipping.


I once stumbled on a website selling artisan coffee. I wanted to buy a gift card for a friend, but it was so difficult to find. It took me a good 15 minutes to find their gift card section, buried at the bottom of the page. Don’t be like that coffee site. That’s exactly what you want to avoid. Make your gift cards impossible to miss.


Now, making the gift cards visible is half the battle. You also need to make buying them really simple. 


The goal is to have a process so easy that it feels like no effort at all for the customer. Think about it: if someone decides to buy a gift card but then gets lost in a complicated checkout process, it’s a turn-off. You want a few clicks to be enough to get from the decision to the actual purchase.


Check your website’s current gift card buying process. Is it more than three clicks? If yes, it’s time for a revamp. Streamline that process. Consider adding a quick-purchase option directly from the homepage or navigation bar.


You might be thinking, “Okay, but why does this matter so much?” 


Here’s the thing—ease of access and simplicity in purchase are key drivers in decision-making for customers. If they know they can hop onto your site, grab a gift card in a couple of clicks, and be done, you’ve just removed barriers to sale. That means more sales for you and a seamless experience for them. It’s a win-win.


Remember, the goal is to make your customers’ lives easier. Do that, and they’ll keep coming back for more. Plus, they’ll bring their friends.


2. Dress Up Your Gift Cards for Every Occasion


Dress Up Your Gift Cards for Every Occasion


Imagine you’re choosing a gift for your dad’s retirement. One store offers a plain card; another offers a card shouting, “Enjoy Your Retirement!” with a quirky image. Easy choice. The lesson? Make your gift cards shout, “Pick me!” for every possible occasion.


Let’s talk about making your gift cards irresistible by dressing them up for every possible occasion. Trust me, this is where the fun begins and where your brand can truly shine.


Think of gift cards as chameleons. 


They should be able to blend into any setting or celebration. Whether it’s a birthday, graduation, wedding, or even just because your gift cards should have an outfit for each occasion. This customization doesn’t just make the gift feel more personal; it makes the giver feel like they’re giving something truly special.


You don’t need a degree in graphic design to make this happen. 


Use tools like Canva and the like. They’re loaded with templates that you can customize to fit your brand and the occasion. Remember, the key is to make the recipient feel like this gift card was chosen just for them.


Here’s another illustration to really drive the point home.


Imagine you’re looking for a gift for your friend who’s a total yoga enthusiast. You find two stores offering gift cards. One has a generic, plain design, and the other features a serene yoga pose with a “Namaste” greeting. Which one would you choose? The yoga-themed one, of course, because it shows thought and effort.


Customizing your gift cards for different occasions does a couple of things for your business. 


First, it significantly increases the appeal of your gift cards. A card that screams “Happy Retirement” is going to catch the eye much faster than a standard, one-size-fits-all design.


Second, it taps into the emotional aspect of gift-giving. 


When a customer can pick a gift card that aligns perfectly with the occasion, it enhances the emotional connection both with the act of giving and with your brand.


Actionable Steps


  1. Assess Your Current Offerings: Start by looking at the gift cards you currently offer. Are they a bit on the blind side? It’s time to inject some personality into them.

  2. Plan Your Designs: List down the major occasions and events throughout the year. Don’t forget the less common ones; sometimes, those are the most appreciated.

  3. Get Creative: Use online design tools to create your new gift card designs. If you’re not confident in your design skills, consider hiring a freelance designer. It’s an investment that will pay off.

  4. Market Your New Designs: Once you have your beautiful, occasion-specific gift cards ready, don’t keep them a secret. Showcase them on your website, social media, and email newsletters. Make sure your customers know they have options.


3. Build and Nurture the Relationship


Now that you’ve got attention-grabbing, occasion-specific gift cards, it’s time to focus on what happens after the sale. 


This is where good brands become great. You need to build and nurture relationships with both the gift card giver and receiver. Here’s how you can transform a simple transaction into a meaningful connection:


Step One: Initiate Contact Immediately


The moment a gift card is purchased, you have a golden opportunity to start a relationship. Don’t just send a receipt; send a thank-you note to the giver and a warm welcome to the receiver (if you have their details). This isn’t just polite; it sets the tone for the entire relationship.


I once bought a gift card for a friend from a small online bookstore. Not only did I receive a thank-you email, but so did my friend, along with a personalized book recommendation based on the genre I mentioned he liked. 


That personal touch? 


It made all the difference. We both became regular customers.


Step Two: Offer a Personalized Experience


When the gift card recipient visits your site or store, make their experience memorable. If you can, personalize their landing page or offer recommendations based on the occasion or their interests. This shows you don’t just see them as another customer, but as an individual.


For example, if you know the gift card was for retirement, feature products that are popular with new retirees. It’s a sign that you’re paying attention.


Step Three: Keep the Conversation Going


After the initial purchase, don’t let the conversation end there. Use the information you’ve gathered to keep in touch with both the giver and receiver in meaningful ways. 


But don’t stop there. Use what you know. Bought an espresso machine? Hit them up with an email showcasing the perfect accessories. This way, that next sale? It’ll be a no-brainer.


And if silence follows, a gentle nudge with a low-value gift card can reignite the spark. It’s perceived as “free money,” and who doesn’t love a freebie? It’s like saying, “Hey, remember us? Come back for more!”


Lastly, don’t let those emails gather dust. Use them to create custom audiences for your ads or remind last year’s gift-givers that another occasion is around the corner. It’s a gentle push to repeat what worked so well before.


Wrapping up


Alright, let’s wrap this up. 


We’ve walked through 3 straightforward strategies to use gift cards to boost your sales in 2024. Make it easy to find and buy, dress it up for every occasion, and build lasting relationships after the sale. 


Remember, gift cards are more than just a convenient gift option; they’re a powerful tool for driving sales and building relationships


So, take a good look at your current gift card strategy. Is it as effective as it could be? If not, you now have a roadmap to make those necessary improvements.


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