December 10, 2013 Leave a Comment
As the holiday season rounds the bend into the final fortnight, merchants would do well to step up promotion of gift cards. As we previously reported, gift card sales are poised to soar again this year, with more than half of shoppers reporting they’ll turn to gift cards for at more than one in 10 recipients on their list, according to the MarketLive Consumer Shopping Survey. Industry-wide, the National Retail Federation reports that 8 in 10 shoppers will purchase a gift card this season, and the amount spent on gift cards will jump 4% compared with last year.
Given the importance of gift cards, most merchants by now know to promote their offerings prominently, and to pre-empt customer service enquiries by clearly spelling out delivery options redemption policies. But while there’s almost always a home page link to gift card purchasing and mention of gift cards in email campaigns, there are several key junctures merchants are missing when it comes to gift-card messaging.
As shoppers become increasingly desperate to find gifts for the final names on their lists, and as order deadlines for items to arrive in time pass, merchants should use every means available to promote gift cards. Tweak site presentation and promotions now to highlight gift cards:
In transactional email. Recent buyers are low-hanging fruit for merchants; they’re already familiar with the brand and have committed to purchasing. And as we’ve reported earlier, the majority of consumers now expect to receive promotional information along with order and delivery confirmation emails, according to a study from the E-Tailing Group and MyBuys. Merchants should remind these customers that after scoring a valuable gift find the first time around, they can take care of other recipients on their list with ease and convenience using gift cards.
Via social media. It’s one thing to post a status update or Tweet reminding followers to pick up last-minute gift cards; it’s another to anchor gift cards into the social experience. Merchants should make gift card information — or better yet, direct gift card purchase — one of the main links from the Timeline page in Facebook, and include a direct link to gift card purchasing from Twitter. Merchants can even get creative and build Pinterest pinboards around top items for gift-card recipients.
MarketLive merchant Sport Chalet has anchored a link to gift cards from a prominent spot on the brand’s Facebook Timeline. Followers can buy either a physical card or an e-gift card directly from within Facebook, upping convenience by enabling them to complete gift purchases without leaving the social environment.
On product pages. While most merchants include prominent promotion of gift cards on their eCommerce site home pages and in holiday gift guides, many shoppers now enter brand sites directly on product pages via search engine results. A text link in the global header doesn’t suffice to alert these incoming visitors to gift card options; merchants should incorporate a promotion within the center content area — if need be, by using a cross-sell slot, as ThinkGeek does with an anchored “Gift Certificates” link.
Where and how are you promoting gift cards this holiday season?