Gifts & Vouchers Blog for Business
Welcome to our insider gift guide, here you will find the latest gift voucher news and reviews.
Have you been looking for new ways to enhance your small business? Did you know by introducing gift cards to your company you can increase sales and brand exposure simultaneously?
Now available in a range of formats including physical, plastic cards and online codes, whether your business is based virtually online or is a standalone store, gift cards and vouchers are sure to prove beneficial!
You’ve more than likely received or gifted a gift card as a surprise treat for Christmas or a birthday, so you’ll likely know just how convenient they can be and that’s one of the main reasons why the nation loves them so much.
The gift card industry is currently valued at over £7 Billion per annum in the UK alone and is growing rapidly, which is a great reason for your business to take advantage of a gift card programme.
For consumers, gift cards and vouchers have proven a hassle-free way to treat the ones they love while ensuring the giftee gets to enjoy the luxury of choosing their own gift, not being lumbered with a present that will inevitably get shoved to the back of the cupboard.
If you’re wanting to take your business to the next level, or simply want to see what you’re missing out on, take a read of our complete guide to gift cards for small businesses…
Why does my small business need gift cards?
In fact the question may rather be, why wouldn’t you want to introduce gift cards to your business makeup?
There are as many benefits when it comes to gift cards and gift vouchers for small businesses as there are for the consumer themselves, if not an abundance more making them a real essential for any long standing or start up.
The main reason why any business needs gift cards is very simple: gift cards are extremely popular.
Firstly, they are a popular gift to give, because they are quick and easy to buy and send, and they don’t need you to rack your brain over which scented candle might smell better or which colour the recipient would like their notebook in.
Secondly, they are a popular gift to receive as well, because they are an experience as much as a gift. Not only can you gift experiences with certain gift cards, but gift cards that are redeemable in a conventional shop still provide the giftee with an enjoyable shopping experience or even bargain hunt, which increases the value of the gift to them.
Thirdly, gift cards are popular among businesses, because their popularity with consumers means they boost sales.
So, let’s check out how this comes about...
They’re a quick and easy present solution
The fact that gift cards, vouchers and e-codes are so easy to purchase and send sometimes with only a few minutes’ notice will always make them a popular solution to any late, forgotten about event, making them far from a gimmick. Gifting an experience, as described before, is really a thoughtful gift a single product in a box with a ribbon on couldn’t deliver. Speaking of which, especially with egift cards, there is no hassle around wrapping the gift, no carrying it to the postbox and then hoping it will arrive in time. Gift cards are sought after by consumers and are firmly here to stay!
In fact, the gift card industry is only getting bigger with figures booming year on year, with GlobalData forecasting that it will grow by 24.7% by 2025, so why wouldn’t you want to get in on the action?
Gift cards are proven to boost sales, site visits and footfall, particularly over the festive season. When customers have such long lists of people to buy for, often it’s just easier to visit an appropriate store or website and bulk buy for their loved ones which could simultaneously up your store visits and profits twofold.
Think about it, many consumers can’t resist picking up a little something for themselves while perusing Christmas prezzies and when their giftee enters your store too, they could buy upwards of their credit as many gift card holders so often do or alternatively, the card may be used over multiple shopping trips giving you more chances to upsell.
Encourage multiple visits
The great thing about consumers being gifted cards for specific stores is that they can only be spent at that specific brand. Usually, the gift card balance is a round number unlike that of a product price, and it is most likely generously chosen by the gifter, so when the recipient finds a product they like, they will probably have something left over, and will most certainly return on a later date if they can’t find another product they’d like straight away.
The reason this will benefit your business is not only will they probably end up spending more money than was on the gift card, but also the more they visit your shop and are exposed to your products, the more they will be inclined to buy them. Growing familiarity with the brand and the products themselves is often a positive experience for the consumer, which means they would like to repeat it.
Not only will this mean that they will spend more time in your store or on your brand website - they might also reconsider what to buy. If they see a product the first time they are in your shop, but aren’t sure they like it enough to buy it, chances are they will feel more positive about them when they come back and get to buy it after all. While they’re there, they might as well. Alternatively, there might be new products or offers on in your store that weren’t on during their last visit, which might encourage them to buy more yet.
Get Your Brand Awareness Skyrocketing
Returning to your shop several times also increases their brand awareness at the same time, so even when they haven’t got a gift card, they might remember your business in future and shop again, if they know what you have to offer. They might even end up buying another gift card from your business for friends or family in turn because of their positive shopping experience with you, and that way, the process will repeat itself over and over, expanding your customer base.
Word of mouth is not the only way gift cards will improve your brand awareness, though. One of the most enjoyable aspects of a gift card is the shopping experience and choosing by yourself. Experiences, more so than gifts, are something that people want to talk about and share, and this is a key point. Many giftees will choose to share their shopping experience with you on social media, which is essentially free advertising for your brand.
As the gift card has already made them go into your shop with a positive feeling, they are more likely to enjoy your shop and products in general. When they share this with their friends or even publicly on different social media platforms, your brand awareness among like minded people will increase massively, and they might even spread the word about offers they have taken advantage of when spending their gift card money.
Gift cards will help you get to know your customers better
When it comes to marketing, gift cards are perfectly magical tools to help you improve. They collect valuable information about your customers which will help you target people with more personalised and specific advertising, making sure that they will be shown those of your products which they will be most likely to buy.
This will also give you more accurate information about your customer base and their demographics in general which will help when deciding where and how to advertise best. Spending lots of money on ad campaigns on different social media platforms can be a bit of a gamble, but with the right data you will be able to save a lot of that money and focus on those channels that are most effective.
Knowledge of your gift card buyer and recipient will also allow you to understand which new products are of most interest to new customers when first coming into contact with your brand. There is a huge amount of advantages to the knowledge that gift cards will provide you with.
eGift Cards are Eco Friendly!
eGift cards in particular are eco friendly in more than one way. Not only do they use no plastic as opposed to the conventional physical ones, they also make sure that the gift bought for the recipient doesn’t vanish in a drawer or is even thrown away entirely. According to GWP, about £42 million worth of Christmas presents end up in landfill, because they weren’t wanted. This enormous amount of waste could be significantly reduced by businesses offering and customers buying gift cards, which enable the gift recipient to get a present they will actually use, or an experience they will treasure as a memory.
They can get your business through hard times
You only have to look at 2020’s Covid-19 pandemic to see how essential gift cards were in saving even the biggest of brands from going bust, because they boost cash flow and provide businesses with an income even when much less or nothing can be sold, which was particularly true for hospitality or event businesses.
With footfall in shops stagnant thanks to lockdown measures, and postal services running late, gift cards really did become one of the saving graces to the highstreet and customers themselves.
Consumers were able to simply search their favourite brand or peruse a gift card website to purchase and send their gift from afar in a matter of minutes.
Nobody knew the global pandemic was going to strike the country and world down the way it did but if your brand is one that isn’t equipped with this option in trying times, you can be sure that your business will lose out to others.
Get out of tricky refunds and sticky customer situations
There’s nothing worse than having a good day for sales and then having that one customer come in with a hefty refund to drag your daily profits down.
When it comes to small businesses, many prefer to offer exchanges instead of monetary refunds which can leave some shoppers a little salty knowing that the policies of larger brands would have permitted it which may discourage return custom.
What if a customer is unreasonable with their item return or is out of time for a refund and you don’t want to offer an exchange? This is where gift cards come in handy!
Offer difficult customers a credit note (gift card, voucher) and you can be assured that you won’t lose out. It allows customers who are not entitled to a monetary refund, or who do not wish to exchange to feel as though they have had a refund while ensuring that the customer will return to your store at a later date and find an alternative to spend the credit on.
How to make the most of your gift cards?
There are, of course, several ways of utilising gift cards once you are offering them. They are a product to sell in themselves, both to customers and other businesses, but they can also be used as marketing incentives.
Here is how to use them most effectively in three ways…
Gift Cards for Customers
The traditional purpose of selling gift cards is, as we discussed, offering them as gifts for customers to buy for special occasions or festivities. By advertising on your website that you offer gift cards or by neatly displaying them next to the till as so many shops do, you will most certainly gain an audience happy to load up a card for a friend or a loved one. If they enjoy shopping with you, they will expect others to enjoy it too. Like any other products, it might just be worth mentioning here that gift cards offered at a discounted price from what they are worth, are very popular, as they allow customers to give more expensive gifts than they would normally be able to afford, thereby potentially expanding your customer base to people who are not in your core target audience. This way, you could gain customers with different interests, ages and income levels which might not have set foot in your shop otherwise.
Gift Cards as Customer Rewards
Another benefit to gift cards is that they can be extremely effective in increasing customer loyalty. Setting up a loyalty program which rewards customers with gift cards has many advantages over traditional sales, discounts or coupon codes, because receiving a gift card makes customers feel more like being rewarded than being targeted to make more profit for the brand. Being able to spend a gift card balance on a product of their choosing will make them much more likely to feel positive towards your brand and spend a little over the balance than giving them a special discount on products they cannot choose.
Especially surprising them with a gift card that they didn’t expect will make them feel more valued and positive towards your business, because you unexpectedly exceed the customer’s expectations. Maximising their positive feelings for your business in this way will not only increase their loyalty, as they might now expect further gift cards in future if they continue to be good customers, it also increases the likelihood of their sharing this positive experience on social media.
Now, what to reward? Gift cards can be used to reward all sorts of customer behaviour, even ones that aren’t necessarily linked to loyalty programs. For example, offering gift cards in exchange for a review can be a great way to gain new customers as well as for spreading brand awareness, and hopefully positive feedback for unsure future customers.
Another way of gaining new customers by rewarding them with gift cards would be to offer gift cards for signing up to your email newsletter. That way they will be more loyal from the start and exposure to your products from the newsletter will make them more likely to buy from you in future, even if they are unsure what to get at first. This could also convince customers who have bought from you before to sign up and become more loyal customers as well.
For both existing and new customers, rewarding purchases of promotional items or shopping in sales you might want to push is always a great incentive. Being rewarded for saving money or buying the latest trendy item is a win-win situation for the customer.
When it comes to rewarding existing customers, it often pays off to reward engagement with your brand and not just spending a certain amount of money in your store. You could be rewarding how much time a customer has spent in your shop or on your website, or if a customer mentions your brand in a positive light on social media, for example, which would mean that you are targeting an interested customer.
Considering the data you could be collecting through your gift cards, you could personalise your marketing campaigns further and adjust the rewards accordingly, improving your customers’ purchase frequency, which you could also reward, in turn. If they are more likely to purchase something from you after having made a recent purchase with you, giving them a gift card could be just the little nudge they needed to go on and treat themselves to your product.
Last, but not least, gift cards are the perfect excuse to get back in touch with your customers and remind them of your brand without spamming their inbox. They will more likely be grateful if you remind them that they have a gift card balance to spend, because often times people forget them until they’ve run out.
As an entirely different strategy, you could also consider offering gift cards from a different brand through a gift card provider, which has another range of benefits listed in our guide to Digital Customer Rewards.
Gift Cards as Corporate Gifting Solutions
Another great way to expand your customer base is by offering gift cards in bulk to other businesses as gifting solutions for their employees. Not only does bulk buying drive revenue for you, but of course all the employees who are receiving gift cards are now much more likely to become future customers.
Besides this, gift cards in bulk are the easiest and quickest gifting solution for large corporations, meaning that businesses have a great interest in them for this reason, too. Whether a company is looking to show their employees some appreciation, or need a last minute solution for Christmas, gift cards are here to save the day for them. As a bonus, giving gift cards to employees is nontaxable under the amount of £50 per employee, making them an even more attractive gift to businesses.
Which gift card option is right for you?
Once you have decided to sell gift cards, there are several options for you to choose from.
Firstly, you could offer the traditional plastic gift cards in different styles for different occasions tied in with your branding. These could then be displayed by the till for customers to pick up, load with their amount of choice and take home to gift to the recipient.
Secondly, you could offer e-gift cards instead, or in addition, adding the same visual design features as well as a voucher code to redeem in your online store.
Whether you opt for physical gift cards or digital vouchers, you could then either add a page to your website dedicated to selling the gift cards, and for the customer to personalise, load and send them, or have your gift cards on offer on ecommerce platforms which specialise in selling gift cards, such as Gifts&Vouchers.