Build Customer Loyalty with Gift Cards on This Holiday Season


Due to their convenience and versatility, gift cards are not hard to convince people to buy as 68% of consumers overwhelmingly still choose gift cards as their preferred type of incentive over coupons and bonus bucks, based on First Data’s U.S. Prepaid Consumer Insights. Consumers will keep coming back to your business when you reward them something they demand, satisfying their needs and wants.

Gift Card Keyword on Google Trends

As you can see above,  Google Trends data in the last 5 years span shows that keyword searches “gift cards” always spike up between November and December of each year. It is evident that the holiday season is gift card season every year. Holidays are the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about gift cards, particularly for last-minute gift shopping like when you totally forget your corporate secret santa party is tomorrow or when it is time to binge spend the gift cards you received from friends and families. Gift cards can help boost customer engagement and loyalty based on the Association for Customer Loyalty. No wonder more businesses are incorporating gift cards into their holiday strategies!

Here are four ideas to drive incentives with gift cards to maximize sales and build customer loyalty:

  1. Customer Loyalty Program Enrollment- If your business has a rewards program, you can use a tactic by inviting them to join your loyalty program when they purchase gift cards. In this way, you increased gift card sales while gaining new customer information with chances of repetitive visits- hitting two birds with one stone!
  2. Include Discount- Gift cards themselves are already incentivizing, so when combined with a discount, it is now irresistable. For example, Sprouts Farmers Market promote their gift card sale for 1 day only annually around November, offering a $100 Sprouts gift card for $89.99. Surprisingly, this is not an unprofitable move as studies have shown that consumers tend to spend around $38 on average beyond the original value of the gift card when they redeem it, a $10 increase from 2016. Therefore, you could still turn a profit even if you sell your cards at a slightly lower rate. Sometimes the discount doesn’t have to be with the gift card either. You can encourage customers to use their gift card in-store or online so they get a reward like a special offer, or coupon upon purchase.
  3. Specific Day In-Store Incentive- Incentivize customers to come in store on specific days like Black Friday to redeem a gift card with purchase or other sales strategies like buy-one-get-one (BOGO) promo to get customers at your door during the holidays. These incentives will allow the customers to come in-store and it becomes an additional opportunity for your business to present complimentary or sale items. Providing great customer services through these opportunities and bam! Your business just earned another new, loyal customers who will love to keep coming back.
  4. Response to Complaints- Holiday shopping spree can make shoppers pressed and cranky for various reasons like not finding the gift they wanted or failed expectations due to bad quality etc. When a customer brings a complaint either in-store or through email/social media, the way to resolve this besides an apology is to offer a gift card. Giving a gift card can compensate the customer’s complaint, which shows that you are understanding about their complaint and appreciate their business. This exceptional customer service will leave a good lasting impression on the customers who will no longer be distraught but will keep coming back due to how well the situation was resolved with a gift card.

Gift cards are a good way to achieve greater customer engagement and brand differentiation. Let’s not take gift cards for granted by including it in your holiday marketing strategies this holiday season to drive sales!

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