According to one study, a significant portion of the total consumer population loves to give and receive gift cards. In most cases, these customers are tempted to spend more, often without realizing it, and many retailers from around the world take advantage of this opportunity to maximize their profits. However, although gift cards carry perks, retailers, including those who sell gift cards online, can make certain mistakes that, if left uncorrected, can limit their efforts and affect their sales in the long run. The following are five common mistakes that should be avoided when selling gift cards.
Mistakes To Avoid in Gift Card Selling
1. Not taking local gift card laws and regulations into account.
Many countries around the world already have laws and regulations governing the manufacture, use, expiry and disposal of gift cards. In the United States, these laws may vary from one state to another. Therefore, it is important for you as a gift card seller to be aware of the laws in your current territory or area of jurisdiction. Otherwise, your company may end up experiencing a backlash and suffer the consequences of unsatisfied customers.
For example, last year, some stores in California received bad press reports that they were not complying with state gift card laws, particularly with regard to the cash gift card clause. California law states that only gift cards with a value of less than $10 can be redeemed for cash.
To avoid this mistake, you must keep up to date with state laws and ensure that your store’s gift card policies comply with these laws. Other issues you should be aware of include fees, expiration dates, redemption, and disclosure of gift cards. Make sure that your business and staff are adequately trained to comply with these clauses.
2. Not accessorizing gift cards.
Gift cards are often used as gifts. Naked, however, they are boring. If you do not wrap a gift card with a cardholder or a pouch, even though this is an additional expense on your part, it decreases its aesthetic value and may discourage your customers from buying again.
The more gift cards are equipped with accessories, the more their “gift-ready” feeling is enhanced. Therefore, it would be advisable to put each gift card in a box, bag or cardholder, or even better, to put a bow on each card and put it in a small paper bag to make it more “gift-like”.
3. Selling gift cards only on busy shopping seasons or Christmas holidays.
Special events and holidays are the times when the sale of gift cards reaches its peak. However, this does not necessarily mean that gift cards are rarely sold on ordinary days. History shows that gift cards are a popular gift idea at all times because they are so convenient and easy to access. Therefore, it is not a wise move to wait until the holidays to offer them if you want a steady flow of money.
What to do instead?
Make sure that your staff is properly trained and informed about the policies and technical details of gift cards before the high season begins. Also, take this time to test your gift card program to further simplify it. You can do test runs in the following areas:
- Design – Make sure the designs of the gift cards you sell are appropriate for the upcoming holidays. Select those that may be sold out and order them as early as possible before stocks run out.
- Marketing – Everything should be smooth in the marketing area as well. You should identify early on where you want to market your gift cards.
- Merchandising – Strategic locations for your gift cards should also be identified.
- Technology – Make sure that your gift cards can be scanned into your point of sale and inventory systems. This will help speed up the checkout process.
4. Neglecting the power of marketing
If your product is not a basic need, you can never expect your target market to flock to your store to buy it. With that in mind, the gift card is clearly not a need. It is a want. And nowadays the market is already flooded with many “wants”. Without proper marketing, your product will not sell.
Although gift cards are a popular gift idea, there is huge competition out there waiting to take advantage of you not investing in proper marketing. If you want to keep up with this competition, you should at least acknowledge how powerful and valuable marketing is.
The good news is that you don’t really need to be afraid of marketing investments because the potential ROI is usually high. Once the good word about your gift card program has spread to your target niche, your sales will certainly improve.
Your marketing program should focus on the following:
- Improved in-store visibility
- Advertising gift cards on various channels, including online
- Creating gift cards that match specific occasions or events
- Introducing gift cards to new customers
- Distributing gift cards to other retail stores
5. Using outdated or ugly gift card designs
Designs play an important role in securing your sales, so do not skimp on them. Invest in card designs if you want your gift card program to click in the market.
Of course, customers will opt for the more appealing and relevant designs. While it feels good to save money, this is business. If you want to flourish, don’t be afraid to invest instead of being satisfied with just one design.
Avoid committing this mistake, do the following instead:
- Display a variety of gift cards in your physical store. Your options should be wide enough. The more options there are, the less likely the customer is to leave the store empty-handed.
- Also, make sure you have gift cards available for common occasions such as important holidays, graduations, birthdays, christenings, weddings, and more.
- Look for the latest trends in gift cards. You should know which designs click better.
- Evaluate the performance of your gift card program on a monthly or quarterly basis to ensure your offerings remain relevant and interesting.
I hope this guide can help you learn and avoid mistakes in gift card sales and save your time. So it’s important to understand your customers’ needs and give them what they need so your business can grow faster.