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5 reasons to start offering gift cards today.

September 21, 2021


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Looking at your eCommerce store, there’s likely a lot of ideas on your ‘todo’ list that you simply never seem to find time for. The loyalty program you’ve been dying to implement. The recommender system based on customer purchase history. That great idea your team had last week… unfortunately, there’s rarely enough time in the day to get every idea built out, tested, and implemented, especially if you’re still on the fence about hiring an agency to give you a hand.

However, if we could encourage you to reexamine your list of ideas, there’s one “nice to have” that we highly recommend moving over to the “must have” category—your gift card program.

We’ve spoken to plenty of clients who seem to feel like implementing a gift card program is something they’ll do later, once they’ve got the rest of their ducks in a row. And each time, we like to run through all the reasons why it’s probably a better idea to get their program going now, instead of delaying the build. 

If you also find yourself moving “the gift card thing” further down your priority list each quarter, allow us to persuade you to change your mind, with our top five reasons to add gift cards to your eCommerce business.

#1 / Customers want gift cards. Make it easy.

A recent report puts the total global gift card market at around $9.42 billion. That’s a massive figure, and one that speaks to just how much demand there is for brands to have a working gift card strategy in place. Additionally, in 2020, more than two thirds of adult shoppers purchased a gift card during the holiday season alone.

And it’s easy to see why.

Gift cards make holiday shopping simple, especially if you’re not entirely sure what to buy for that second cousin of yours who you still don’t know all that well. In fact, more than 50% of customers who bought a gift card in Q4, did so because it allows the giftee to make up their own mind. Bottom line—your customers want you to set up a gift card program. Listen to them.

#2 / Lowers cost of acquisition for new customers.

It can take a lot of work to win new customers. After multiple meetings with your team, a marketing campaign that cost slightly more than expected, and more than enough abandoned carts—you finally manage to score a new buyer. Congrats!

Unfortunately, pushing people through that same funnel time and again can be expensive. If only there was an easy way to get existing customers to refer their friends without needing to spend a cent on customer acquisition.

Well… that’s exactly what happens when you have a working gift card program in place.

When someone buys a card for their friend or family member, they’ve essentially added a new buyer to your pipeline. Around 80% of those gift cards will end up getting used, meaning those giftees will all end up on your website, adding products to their cart. By creating an irresistible customer experience for them, you can help win their loyalty for life—and you haven’t spent a penny on acquisition.

#3 / You’ll earn more than the gift card value.

A couple of years ago, First Data surveyed over 1,000 UK-based consumers who received a gift card and then went on to make a purchase with it. Of the one thousand giftees, 740 of them reported that they spent more than the gift card was worth (an average of $54 more) when it came time to make a purchase.

This is simply free revenue. No need to upsell. No extra budget spent on ad campaigns. All you need to do is get your gift card program up and running. From there, giftees will do the upselling all on their own, purchasing more than they normally would if they had simply ended up your site without a gift card in hand.

#4 / Makes it easy to surprise and delight.

We’ve talked before about how important it is to look for easy ways to reward your top customers. With gift cards, this becomes outrageously simple. It costs nothing to sneak a gift card into a box before shipping. You’re already sending the product out, why not give them a reason to come back to your store after receiving what they’ve ordered?

A gift card program makes life easier for influencers you partner with.

In a similar vein, gift cards also make it easy for you to run promotions on social media. Once the program is running, it takes very little extra effort to offer them on social in exchange for a like, follow, or a mention. They also work great if you’re working with influencers, because whoever you partner with can offer them to their following.

#5 / Reduces lost revenue due to returns.

Earlier we mentioned that a lot of customers buy gift cards during the holiday season because they aren’t sure what the giftee would like. This is an important point, because it actually has a great second order effect—you can reduce returns.

Giftees who are able to purchase their own gifts can get clothes that fit, books they haven’t read, and snacks & goodies that match their taste preferences. They’ll be more likely to buy something they love, and less likely to immediately go looking for your return policy on Christmas morning.

“With gifts, the buyer may not be familiar with the product or service being purchased, or with the need, taste, or wishes of the recipient. This can easily lead to customer returns, and can be difficult to prevent.”


You can also use gift cards to help turn a return into an exchange. Let’s say a customer made a purchase only to request a refund after delivery. Instead of losing that revenue entirely (by returning 100% of their cash), you could consider offering a gift card to keep them in the pipeline. With a gift card program already set up, this is simple to set up and can help you reduce your total revenue lost to returns.

Get your gift card program set up before Black Friday.

At Parkfield, we always recommend our clients find ways to outsmart the competition, not outspend them. By adding a gift card program, you can quickly (and affordably) add a serious competitive advantage to your D2C business.

Hopefully, our top five reasons to set up a gift card program have helped convince you to schedule a meeting with your dev team and get to work. If you're on Shopify, adding electronic gift cards is relatively easy. They've got a great tutorial series for you if you're more of a DIY eCommerce store:

As you read this, there's just 66 days left until Black Friday 2021. If you’d like expert advice on how to get your gift card strategy set up, custom-built to suit your brand, and ready before the holidays let's set up a free call and get you up and running.

Photo by Apollo Photography on Unsplash.

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