4 Tips to Improve Omnichannel Gift Card Program Performance
The gift card market in the U.S. is projected to record a CAGR of 9.2 percent during 2020-2024, growing to $221,147 million by 2024, according to the Q2 2020 Global Gift Card Survey. This comes on the heels of a report from Blackhawk Network that revealed a more than 80 percent increase in digital gift card (i.e., e-gift) sales and a nearly 40 percent increase in overall e-commerce gift card sales during the 2020 holiday season.
These numbers present a rosy outlook for the gift card market, making it an imperative that merchants invest time and resources into optimizing their omnichannel gift card programs. But how?
As part of the 2020 Merchant Gift Card Omnichannel Evaluation, produced by NAPCO Research in conjunction with Blackhawk Network, a section featured tactics and tips for merchants to implement as they look to boost their gift card sales, both digital and physical. Here's a sampling of those tips:
1. Have a testing program in place.
This is particularly useful for your digital/e-commerce and mobile website and app, where the landscape is evolving so quickly. Conduct a brand self-audit, going through the gift card purchase and recipient experiences. Identify roadblocks along the way, and seek out solutions to eliminate them. This also applies to in-store. Test to ensure that signage is accurate, that gift card fixtures and checkstands are accessible and well-maintained, that your selection is well-stocked (with your own brand’s cards getting primary placement), and that the checkout experience is fast and easy.
2. Optimize for self-use purchasing.
According to Blackhawk Network’s Consumer Gift Cards State of the Union report, 33 percent of consumers have purchased gift cards for self-use. Furthermore, consumers are spending more, on average, for purchases of self-use gift cards ($51.93) than they are for gifting ($47.91). Therefore, it’s important that merchants promote this offering to consumers.
3. Make it easy to find your gift cards.
Let’s start with in-store. Ensure that you have neat, well-stocked, and easily accessible gift card checkstands and/or fixtures. Your business also should be using signage, digital or traditional/static, to direct in-store shoppers to where gift cards are located. This is particularly important for larger footprint stores (e.g., grocery, department stores, big-box stores, etc.), where it’s easier for shoppers to get overwhelmed and be unable to find a smaller gift card checkstand or fixture amongst all the other products. The same approach applies online. Website navigation should include gift cards, site search should be optimized for gift card results, and gifting sections should contain, you guessed it, gift cards.
In addition, merchants should be leveraging external marketing channels, such as social media and search engines to help promote their gift card programs. Find creative ways to promote your gift card programs in these marketing channels, and the reward can be increased traffic to your gift card pages as well as conversions.
4. Optimize the recipient experience.
Areas of focus for merchants when it comes to the gift card recipient experience should include making it easy to check account balances online; offering the ability for the recipient to easily reload more money onto the card (this should be a no-brainer); and giving recipients the option to re-gift a gift card via the merchant’s website or mobile app. Also, give recipients the ability to redeem gift cards across channels. For example, if a customer receives a physical card, allow for them to redeem it on your brand’s website and mobile app. And vice versa if a recipient receives an e-gift card.
You can download the full report, 2020 Merchant Gift Card Omnichannel Evaluation, which includes the ranking of 100 leading merchants' omnichannel gift card programs (including broken down by product category) as well as more valuable trends and tips gleaned from the data, here.
Related story: 2020 Merchant Gift Card Omnichannel Evaluation