Guess what? Merchants like you should start planning for your holiday cards in the summer! What… that early?! Yes, summer season is the prime time for businesses to start planning and ordering their gift cards for the holidays before the busy season picks up.
Holiday season accounts for a large percent of all gift card sales, generating anywhere from 25% to 50% for most merchants during the Christmas season. According to National Retail Federation, gift card buyers spent $153.08 on average on gift cards in holiday 2015 which the amount has been increasing each year.
Valerian Technologies recommends a list of steps for merchants to capitalize on the opportunities that holidays provide, especially during Thanksgiving/Black Friday and Christmas.
- Build awareness of your gift card program thru print, direct mail, e-mail, online and other advertising opportunities. Due to the vast majority of gift card purchases are planned (86%), holiday advertising should start as early as October.
- Develop one or more seasonal carriers or card designs (Check out Valerian’s latest generic new carriers)
- Provide specific instructions to your business about how to merchandise the seasonal cards and carriers to maximize exposure.
- Increase the number of gift card displays in your business
- Place a gift card display at or near each register especially in areas close to items often given as gifts for visual exposure.
- Run holiday promotions that include gift cards as consumer incentives such as, “Spend $100 and receive a $20 gift card” or “Buy a $50 gift card and receive a $5 gift card for free”.
- Have cashiers proactively promote and sell to the customers at the end of a transaction at the register.
Holiday card planning should begin about eight months in advance (around May and June). The advice may seem overly cautious, but let’s look at our recommended timeline and the explanation for it:
The goal is to have the cards in stores at the beginning of November ideally to allow consumers the opportunity to see your gift card offerings and plan their purchases. In order to maximize your chance of reaching your goal, start designing your cards around May to June. Plan to submit your art proof around June and July to allow you and Valerian Technologies time to go through the proof approval and production process so that you are flexible to the extended lead times common to the peak months leading up to the holiday. You would receive your cards around the end of September, which gives you a month to distribute cards to your stores. With the cards in your store(s) by the beginning of November and on display soon thereafter, you will have completed a crucial step in maximizing the performance of your holiday gift card program.
Start ordering your holiday gift cards now: Request a Quote!
References: First Data-Gift Card Marketing Guide Best Practices