Looking Back: Six Gift Card Tips We Learned This Holiday Season

They say that hindsight is 20/20, so periodically, it’s smart to look at your recent past to see what lessons can be learned. That said, we decided to do just that and look back at the holiday 2015 to see what the season could teach us.

Below, we’ve compiled the gift card success lessons we learned from reviewing last holiday season:

TIP: Gift Card Malls Are Essential—If you’re looking to grow the footprint of your gift card brand, in-store gift card malls are still one of the essential distribution channels to promote your brand and drive revenue during the holidays—and throughout the year. Once scarce, gift card malls are now ubiquitous, appearing in grocery stores and other retail outlets in nearly every neighborhood in the US. If you’re looking to promote your brand, getting prime real-estate in these displays are essential.

TIP: Placement at Checkout is Great for Driving Incremental Spend—Again, it wasn’t long ago that gift cards were the stuff solely of department stores and QSRs, but today, if you’re looking to drive incremental spend for your brand, ensuring that your gift card appears at checkout stands helps to drive that additional spend and increases product awareness. Where else do you have someone’s undivided attention for a few seconds? Developing a visibility attractive display at checkout will help your gift card brand win big.

TIP: Make Sure Your Card Assortment is Dialed for Every Demographic—When it comes to gift cards, having the right assortment of cards is key to success. Ensure you offer card designs that are appropriate for everyone on your customer’s list—family members, co-workers, teens, best friends, teachers, and even pet lovers. Having the right card for the right occasion ensures your brand can provide the right gift solution for whomever is buying. Multi-packs have also been shown to be very successful in driving incremental spend, so consider developing a buy-in-bulk option.

TIP: Social Media Promos are Mandatory for Gift Card Success—Given that most Americans, and much of the world, are living their lives through the screens of their smartphones, it’s important for gift card brands hoping to grow their footprint to be where the customers are—and that means social media. To drive eGift sales and promote brand awareness channels, it’s important to develop channel-specific offers that request customer engagement—some kind of action required to take advantage of the offer—be it posting a video, a hashtag, a share, or some other action. These action-oriented, channel specific offers have been shown to help grow gift card brands in the past and should continue to do so.

TIP: Look for Marketing Opportunities OUTSIDE Your Store—In addition to ensuring the right real-estate in-store for your gift cards, it’s also important to look outside your store for places to promote your gift card brand. During holiday 2015, we saw numerous high-profile brands go outside with billboards, placing them in high-traffic areas to boost awareness. Getting your brand in front of people is always key, and looking to a well-executed billboard could be the key to your gift card brand’s success.

TIP: Gift Guides Grow Gift Cards—If you’re looking to really move some cards, look for opportunities locally and regionally to get into gift guides. Nearly every publication still publishing physically (and many online pubs as well) produce gift guides each year. If you’re looking for an exciting way to promote your gift card, getting placement in one or more of these gift guides can pay off great dividends for your gift card brand.

Have any tips for gift card success of your own? Reach out to us @FirstData on Twitter and let us know what lessons you learned from your gift card program last holiday season.

And to learn more about how one of First Data’s gift card solutions for small or large businesses can help you grow your gift card, live chat with one of our reps today, or contact us to learn more.