I don’t know about you, but I’ve received a lot of dud gifts over the years… it’s not that they aren’t appreciated, it really is the thought that counts in gift-giving. But honestly, I’d prefer a gift card where I can pick out my own gift instead of a painting of sailboats or some cat themed socks (I speak from experience).

And I’m not alone. A First Data Corp. survey discovered that that 93% of those surveyed would prefer a gift card valued at $25 over an item valued at $25. More than that, almost 50% said that they would rather get a $25 gift card instead of an item valued at $50. I’m sure that says something about our desire to get exactly what we want instead of something we don’t. We like the ability to choose for ourselves.

And if you are thinking, “gift cards are so impersonal,” consider the results of a Swagbucks survey that says 76% of gift card recipients disagree, it means the gift-giver has thought about what you like to spend money on, what retail shops you like, or where you like to dine.

Gift Cards Give an Experience

Not only do gift cards offer the fun and freedom of getting to choose your own gift, but a gift card also invites people to enjoy something you can’t otherwise give: an experience. Often gift cards provide the opportunity for someone to enjoy a dinner out in a nice restaurant or to purchase merchandise that they wouldn’t normally spend money on.

Taking all this into account, your business stands to gain if you focus your efforts on selling gift cards this holiday season. Gifting holiday cards is a common practice among consumers, and businesses that provide gift cards stand to benefit from the revenue boost that comes with holiday card sales. In fact, one study conducted by First Data found that 96% of holiday shoppers planned on purchasing at least one gift card during their holiday shopping for an average purchase value of around $48 per transaction.

Proven Strategies for Increasing Holiday Gift Card Sales

Offer Unique Holiday Gift Card Packaging Choices

Customers are more likely to purchase holiday gift cards when you have a beautiful option to package it. This could include holiday-themed card designs, envelope colors, and or a gift box or bag. Anything that saves the gift-giver time and effort, providing a ready-to-give gift.

Send Out Postcards to Those Who Haven’t Purchased Yet

It’s a good idea to send out postcards to all current customers who have yet to make a purchase in your retail store or restaurant before the holidays arrive. Give consumers a reason to buy gift cards from you and not your competitors using bonuses or free products as incentives. For example, an offer for 15% off your next visit with the purchase of a gift card will promote holiday gift sales as well as future business, marketing your services to both the recipient and the purchaser.

Offer bonus certificates with each gift card purchase that the buyer can use for themselves or give away as well. If you typically have a slow season after the holidays, then consider making the bonus certificates only valid during that time period to offer a boost in business.

This is a very common practice among restaurants and retailers, especially for Black Friday sales. That’s because it works. I’m sure you have seen many of these. For example, buy a $100 gift card and get a FREE $20 gift card to use for yourself. Great idea!

Bounce Back Promotions

Since the holiday season brings such an influx of customers for a lot of businesses when buying gift cards, it’s a perfect time to give a bounce back offer. That’s an offer that you give everyone when it’s busy that they need to bring back to your business when it isn’t busy… it bounces them back in.

The best bounce back promotion during the holidays is our No Peeking/Red Envelope Promotion, which has been proven to double sales in slower months. And a great idea to also tie in gift card sales to offer as a grand prize a gift card a month for the lucky winner. This gives your staff members the perfect opportunity to talk about gift card sales as they give out the No Peeking Red Envelope to encourage more sales.

You can get all the information and the secrets to making this Done For You Promotion a money-maker for your business and see how one restaurant owner increased his sales over $100k in his slowest month using this exact promotion on the special webpage I set up for you here:

The No Peeking / Red Envelope Promotion

Expanding Sales to Family and Friends of Customers

Most holiday gift card sales are made by third parties- the customer doesn’t make the purchase for themselves but instead buys it as a perfect gift for someone else. You can encourage holiday shoppers to do this more often by offering bonus gift cards for purchases made in ‘bulk’ (i.e., the more cards that are purchased at once, the greater the buyer’s bonus will be).

Using Gift Cards to Get New Customers

Since many of your existing customers will give the cards as gifts, many recipients will likely be new customers for you. These new customers are even more valuable because they come on a great recommendation, you have been “validated” by the giver, and you will have higher success getting them to sign up to your rewards program or customer list so that you can encourage them to return again and again. This is one of the most powerful ways to get new customers after the holidays. Because when given as a gift, they typically come with strong personal recommendations from your existing customers who purchased the cards.

Make Social Media Posts

Regardless of if you are selling digital or physical gift cards – your social media platforms are the ideal space to sell gift cards because they don’t involve the reader to switch media. By providing a direct link from your posts to your online ordering process, you give the purchaser an easy and fast way to get to your website and create a sale.

Include Holiday Gift Cards in Your Email Campaigns

Email provides the same opportunity as social media – a direct link to your online order process. In every email communication you send to your customer list, make sure you include your gift cards sales link.

If you don’t offer digital cards, physical cards can be purchased online, mail them, or picked up in-store, giving people an easy way to make a buying decision. Many stores and restaurants include bonuses or free shipping incentives with purchases that can be applied towards holiday gifts if they’re ordered before a certain date.

Don’t Make It Hard For Your Customers To Do Business With You And Give You Money!

Use Holiday Gift Cards as a Strategy to Increase Customer Loyalty

If you have a rewards program, offer bonus points as an incentive with each holiday gift card purchase. Giving extra points doesn’t cost anything and encourages faster awards and more repeat visits.

The Dirty Little Secret

And here’s the dirty little secret that makes selling gift cards REALLY compelling for your business. Approximately 20% are never redeemed. People forget, they aren’t interested, and they lose them… I’ve got a few in my wallet I just never get around to using. That’s money in your bank.

Why It’s a Good Idea for Your Holiday Sales Program to Offer Gift Cards:

  • NEARLY HALF of consumers received a gift card during the holidays.
  • Gift cards have the ability to get customers in the door; 72% of shoppers also do some shopping for themselves when going to a store or online to shop for a gift card. Try to sell them something else. Incremental sales can add significant income to your holiday revenue.
  • $25 is the most popular denomination of gift cards to be given away.

You can read more statistics and selling techniques about gift card sales in one of my previous blog posts HERE

Make it Easy to Buy a Gift Card

Use in-house promotion to ensure that EVERY customer knows you sell gift certificates and what’s in it for them this holiday season. Consider everywhere in-house that your message might be seen – host stands, front windows, tables, cash registers, staff shirts or buttons, wall signs, waiting areas, receipts – whatever you can think of. Make it easy to find and buy a gift card from both inside your business and online.

*Don’t forget your restroom walls. You have a captive audience there so don’t waste that space by selling it to a company that puts billboards on your walls and pays you $25 a month! Use it to sell your products and services! Let your customers know what’s going on at your store or restaurant.

Gift Cards for the WIN!

If you’re looking for ways to increase sales this holiday season, gift cards are a great way to do that. Gift card purchases are made by third-party buyers and can help bring in new customers as well as provide an incentive for existing ones.

By making it easy to buy gift cards from inside your business or online, you’re helping make what could otherwise be a difficult shopping experience into one that’s simple and rewarding. And it means the receivers are getting a gift that they’ll really appreciate, not another pair of cat socks.

To see how gift cards can be used in conjunction with the #1 Holiday Promotion that has been proven by hundreds of thousands of restaurants over the past 19 years, click the button below. Get all the information and proof for yourself.

Turn this holiday into a money-making machine that keeps giving after the hustle and bustle is over. Dig the well before you thirst!


The No Peeking / Red Envelope Promotion
Michael Thibault
Michael Thibault

Michael Thibault

Known as “The Done For You Marketing Guy for Restaurants.” International Speaker on Restaurant Marketing. Published contributing author of 4 Marketing Books. Industry expert on Google Searches and Review Sites. Recovering Independent Restaurant Owner and Caterer of over 21 years. And, all-around good guy.

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