Tips to Help Merchants Boost Gift Card Sales
As part of the recently released report, 2022 Merchant Gift Card Omnicommerce Evaluation, UK Edition, produced by NAPCO Research and Blackhawk Network, there were actionable tips included to help readers improve the performance of their gift card programs across three primary channels: e-commerce/digital; in-store; mobile. Merchants would be wise to implement these tips as they seek to capture additional market share in the rapidly growing gift card industry.
- Discoverability should be priority No. 1. The best designed gift card programme in the world is as ineffective as the worst if consumers can’t find it on your website. On digital platforms, there's room for improvement among U.K. merchants on the discoverability front. For the discoverability criteria, the 50 merchants evaluated earned the following average scores:
- Desktop: 60 percent
- Mobile Web: 57 percent
- Mobile App: 44 percent
- Personalise the purchase and recipient experience. While retailers scored positively on average for personalisation criteria, there are opportunities to take it further and really delight both gift card purchasers and recipients with advanced individualisation such as the ability to include their own images and videos. Younger customers especially, raised on social media, are used to putting their unique stamp on things. Personalisation opportunities include allowing customers to select from a variety of faceplates; choose their denomination; and make the purchase unique with a personalised message.
- Enable omnichannel purchase activity. Giving customers the ability to buy gift cards online and pick them up in-store is an area that merchants may look to upgrade as flexibility across channels becomes more essential. Average scores for all three channels (desktop, mobile web, mobile app) were all below 20 percent.
- Connect gift cards with loyalty programs. Integrating gift card programmes with loyalty programmes is a great way to enhance a seasoned customer’s experience. Just 9 percent of the merchants evaluated are taking advantage of this opportunity.
- Expand your selection. Merchants have an opportunity to expand their appeal to more customers and target new demographics by carrying other brands’ gift cards in their stores. Only 18 percent of merchants evaluated have a multi-brand gift card offering.
- Use promotions to drive gift card sales. Promotions are a great way to drive sales of gift cards, but very few merchants are using this approach. A Blackhawk Network survey into the evolution of the gift card market in EMEA found that 78 percent of respondents would consider a different gift card based on a promotion. However, only 2 percent of U.K. brands assessed were leveraging gift cards as part of promotions.
- Add gift cards within your app. Sounds simple, right? The data suggests otherwise. While 96 percent of sites across both desktop and mobile web offered merchants’ gift card programmes, just 48 percent of merchants with mobile apps offered their gift cards within the app. This can be a point of differentiation for your brand.
- Give customers ways to pay for gift card purchases via their phones. Encouragingly, almost all (average of 95 percent) merchants accepted contactless payments for in-store gift card purchases, however, there's room for improvement when it comes to clearly communicating which forms of contactless payments are accepted. The more options and direction you can give the customer the better.
Download the full report, which identifies the top 10 merchants' omnicommerce gift card programs, as well as more valuable trends and tips gleaned from the data.
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.