How to improve your gift card marketing

You don’t need us to tell you that gift cards are a real boost to business, whatever sector your company is in. However, with the chaos of running a business, seasonal promotions and new product launches, gift cards can often get left by the wayside and not given the exposure they deserve.

But of course, gift cards won’t sell themselves! That’s why it’s important to sufficiently market your gift cards and make sure they’re at the forefront of your customer’s minds.

A group of marketeers around the table with large digital icons.

Need a little inspiration on how to improve your gift card marketing? Savvy is here to help.

Levelling up your gift card marketing

There is a multitude of ways you can breathe a little life into your gift card marketing activity, from easy wins and beyond. Plus, when trying to nail those promotions and campaigns, Savvy’s Gift Card Management and Analytics platforms can be your best friend when ensuring success… Let’s explain.

Improve your gift card visibility in-store

So, how can you get customers to take more notice of your gift cards? It’s actually pretty simple. It may sound obvious, but making your gift cards more prominent within your stores can be enough to make a big difference.

Think carefully about how your gift cards are displayed in-store. Gift cards are tactile – are you offering customers the space to freely browse your choice of designs? They are commonly located at the register. Whilst this is great for planned purchases, it’s also a good idea to not confine them here. You should also display them around the store to maximise those impulse purchases too.

Gift cards shouldn’t be an afterthought, pushed to a dusty corner of your store or wherever there’s a bit of unused space. Pull your customer’s attention as soon as they walk through the doors with eye-catching visuals and point of sale (POS) material.

And why just leave it at visuals? Use signage for clever taglines to showcase the reasons why a customer should purchase your gift card. Perhaps it’s made from eco-friendly materials. Perhaps you’re currently offering a free £5 gift card balance top-up with every new purchase. Shout about the benefits to tempt those sales.

Your gift card display should be treated with as much care and attention as any other area of your store. Are the designs up to date or are your Christmas-themed cards still out in January? Are the terms and conditions still correct or do they need replacing? Keep it fresh and keep it relevant. Your customer won’t value your gift cards if you don’t!

Educate your team

Sure, you understand the value of your gift cards – but that doesn’t mean your in-store teams will too. And if they don’t understand the value then there is little chance that they will be focused on ensuring gift card sales are maximised.

If this is an area that could do with a little development, spend some time educating store staff on the importance of gift cards to your business. You could even incorporate gift cards into your sales and customer training, highlighting the dynamic of sales, redemption and lift. Guide your staff on the situations where they may be able to boost gift card sales. For instance, if a customer is looking for advice on a product to gift or if a product they are looking for is out of stock.

Consider assigning a member of staff to take ownership of gift cards within store. Store managers already have a lot on their plate. Look to more junior members of the team who would enjoy the extra responsibility. Ask them to ensure the gift card display is in-line with the plan and to reorder designs when they start to run low.

Drill down into the data with Savvy’s Analytics platform to show your teams how successful gift cards can be and why they need in-store prominence. Create the business case for fresh new card designs, attractive displays and persuasive signage with your gift card sales and redemption numbers. By consistently reporting gift card activity to your team, gift cards will stay at the forefront of their minds.

And lastly, everyone likes a bit of healthy competition, right? Using Analytics to report on gift card sales and redemption levels across stores, show each in-store team how they compare against each other. Incentivise them to generate more sales and secure that top spot. A reward for the best-performing store is sure to get those sales brains ticking.

Use gift cards as incentives and rewards

If you thought that all gift cards were good for was gifting and simply loading value to be spent, then think again. Gift cards can also be used to inspire your customers to spend more when used as incentives and rewards.

For example, let’s say you want to boost sales on your clothing website. Offer a £15 gift card to those who purchase to a particular threshold such as £100. You might just inspire someone to add that extra item to their basket that they were umming and ahhing over, resulting in an extra sale with just a small cost to you for the customer reward.

Or, let’s say you want to reward the loyal customers of your coffee shop. Perhaps once a customer purchases 10 coffees with you, you offer them a pre-loaded gift card for their next visit as a treat on you. As a result, the relationship between your brand and your customer is strengthened. You pretty much secure a return visit. Plus, 72% of gift card users spend more than the original value of their card, so you’re likely to still make money despite the freebies.

Gift cards work hand-in-hand with loyalty. They allow you to attract customers by encouraging them to sign up to your loyalty program. They allow you to reward the customers who spend with you and even reach out to customers who have lapsed their spending with you.

Similarly, social media can be somewhat of an untapped avenue when it comes to gift card marketing. Explore the possibility of running a social media competition with a pre-loaded gift card as the prize. With the above uplift statistic in mind, you’re likely to get some extra sales out of the winner’s spending. Not to mention the benefits of engagement and brand awareness that social media competitions hold.

If you are a Savvy Analytics customer, use our platform and your analytics data to understand your average load by channel. How can you use this intel to push your customers to the next level?

Leverage key events

There are certainly dates in the calendar when your gift card sales are likely to benefit from a bit of a boost. For instance, every single December, Google searches for ‘gift cards’ see a spike and gift card sales skyrocket as people prepare for the biggest gifting period of the year. Gift cards make the perfect present for any gifting season as they reduce waste and give the recipient the much-appreciated gift of choice.

But which other key events can you leverage? Amp up your gift card marketing around key shopping events such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween and Black Friday. Depending on the nature of your business, you could even take advantage of more niche events such as International Womens Day (8th March 2023 globally), National Burger Day (28th May 2023 in the US) or National Book Lovers Day (9th August 2023 globally). Check out this National Day Calendar for key dates.

Savvy’s Analytics platform arms you with the ability to identify which periods of the year suffer weak sales and a drop in footfall. Perhaps your phone stops ringing in January. Maybe the Summer months drag on with few customers coming through your doors. A little forward planning into key dates that you can leverage and create exciting marketing campaigns around can help you boost your sales during these identified weaker periods.

Utilise the sales channels available to you

A huge driver for marketing activity is to build awareness and connect with new customers. To do this, sometimes you need to look a little further afield. Are you making the most of the sales channels available to you?

A simple place to start would be gift card malls. Gift card malls can be found either online or within stores such as supermarkets. They offer gift cards from hundreds of different brands all in one convenient place. Could you explore putting your name amongst them to broaden your reach?

Gift cards have also become incredibly profitable within the B2B channel. More and more organisations are investing money into employee benefits and customer rewards. Gift cards offer the choice and flexibility needed to please the masses, making them the perfect reward to cater to all kinds of people effectively with just one product.

In fact, the Gift Card and Voucher Association (GCVA) reported in their State of the Nation March 2022 report that over the last three years, an almost equal proportion of consumers received a gift card as a reward or incentive as the proportion that had purchased gift cards for themselves. There’s no denying that this channel for gift cards is going from strength to strength and tapping into the B2B rewards market could be well worth your investment.

Not sure how to utilise these channels? At Savvy, we have access to all the major API sales channels to help you broaden your gift card programme’s horizon – including gift card malls and B2B channels. Plus, with our Analytics platform, you can use real-time data to prove to your business that the returns by each channel and channel partner justify the third-party commissions.

Understand your redemption lift

Are you aware of which marketing channels generate the most redemption lift for you? For instance, have you seen evidence that customers who come through your paid ads or email marketing channels spend more on top of their gift card value than those in-store?

When it comes to marketing, it’s never a good idea to just ‘wing it’. In order to maximise your marketing channels, you first need to understand them. By understanding who is spending the most and where you can hone your efforts on the best-performing channels or use this knowledge to bring others up to speed.

With Savvy’s platform, you can view redemption lift by:

  • Channel
  • Brand
  • Card type
  • Location

This allows you to build current and future marketing campaigns around this knowledge with the added peace of mind that you are spending money in the right areas.

Complement this with our Analytics data to show your business the impact of gift cards and redemption lift, for both gift cards and return cards. By proving the business case for gift cards, you have a better chance of gaining that all-important internal buy-in for additional gift card initiatives.

Limit exposure and maximise sales

Gift card promotions need to make money, not lose money. Although not losing money is rarely something you can guarantee in marketing, grasping and controlling the return on investment of your promotions by applying a variety of rules and restrictions can make it a lot easier to avoid.

With Savvy’s Gift Card Management platform, you can apply validity rules such as whether a gift card’s validity is open-ended or has a redemption end-date, time and date restrictions, basket rules and sales channel rules.

Let’s say for instance that you’re running a Black Friday promotion on your gift cards. However, you don’t want the value of any purchased gift cards to be then spent on discounted items in your store over the sales period. You could either restrict the usage to full-price items only or perhaps add time and date restrictions so that the card can only be spent once the Black Friday chaos has been and gone.


Studies have shown that senior leaders often know little about just how powerful gift cards can be. And you know what else is powerful? Knowledge. Savvy can give you the knowledge to help you understand exactly how customers are using and engaging with your gift cards. This is a vital part of driving your gift card marketing forward and making better, more informed decisions for your next campaign.

Turn to Savvy to help you take control of and understand your gift card marketing activity. To learn more about how our Gift Card Management and Analytics platform can help you, just contact us and let’s start a conversation. We’re available via our website or give us a call on 0870 735 2829 (UK), 0190 22752 (Ireland) or 001 (502) 489 4439 (USA & Canada).

Maximise your gift card sales this Black Friday 2022

Black Friday is one of the biggest days in our retail calendar and a must for any bargain-seeking shoppers. This year, Black Friday is set to fall on the 25th of November 2022 with its online counterpart Cyber Monday following on the 28th of November and US shoppers are set to spend roughly $158 billion during this time, with UK shoppers estimated to spend £3.95 billion.

A woman in a retail store holding a number of Black Friday shopping bags.

For UK shoppers, spending is set to drop this year compared to 2021’s Black Friday. With the cost of living crisis dominating the press headlines worldwide and tightening purse strings, this drop in spending may not come as a huge surprise. Whilst consumers in the UK still want to shop this Black Friday, they’re looking to get more for their money than ever before.

It’s not the same story globally though. Research has shown that one in five US shoppers plan to increase their Black Friday spending this year, eager to grab the opportunity to shop discounted products in order to maximise value.

So, how can you attract these price-conscious shoppers this Black Friday and maximise your gift card sales? Savvy explains how you can win this spending season.

Gift card purchasing behaviours for Black Friday 2022

You know the score – in order to effectively market your gift card programme and maximise sales, you must first understand your customer and their behaviour. And when it comes to Black Friday shoppers, there are a few different customer types that you can expect to need to cater to.

Early Christmas shoppers

Black Friday has certainly pulled the start date for Christmas shopping forward a week or two. Whilst many people can be found pounding the high street and emptying retail shelves on Christmas Eve, the organised amongst us will be ready and waiting to spend come Black Friday with their gift list in hand.

In fact, 38.1% of people in the UK start their Christmas shopping before November, and 69.8% before the 1st of December. In the US it’s a similar story, with 60% of consumers organised enough to start before December. Plus, with living costs rising, many shoppers this year will be hoping to spread out the cost of their Christmas shopping and make use of discounts while they’re at it.

How to attract early Christmas shoppers

So, what kind of deals are these customers after and how can you put your gift cards at the top of their Christmas list? Simply offering a discount on your gift cards is a great place to start. For instance, if a customer purchases a £50 gift card, they pay just £45. If a customer purchases a £60 gift card, they pay just £52.

By increasing the discounts the higher the gift card value, you encourage a higher spend and give customers more bang for their buck. Set your Finance Director’s mind to rest by ensuring you track every promotional gift card through its redemption lifecycle so they can actually see the resulting customer spend and value that discount offer created. They’ll probably ask you why you didn’t sell more of them!

When marketing your gift card promotions to early Christmas shoppers, focus on the element of choice for the recipient. These are shoppers who are eager to spend time getting their Christmas gifting right. A gift card is a gift that cannot miss the mark. It’s free money in the recipient’s pocket.

For gift-givers that want to ensure a worthwhile gift that won’t be getting returned on Boxing Day, your gift card is the way to go. Gifting unwanted presents can be a real worry. Over a third of shoppers planned to return a gift back in January 2022. Not only is this a worry for gift-givers, but it has a financial impact on retailers and an impact on the planet as shipping items back and forth creates unnecessary greenhouse gases. Gift cards successfully combat this with the level of choice that they offer.

Thrifty shoppers

Of course, it goes without saying that thrifty shoppers aren’t going to let Black Friday pass them by this year without taking advantage of slashed prices. These are the consumers that consider Black Friday shopping a sport. They will spend hours finding the best prices across the internet and in-store for the products that they want. So, with discounts a-plenty across the board, how can you make sure your gift cards stand out amongst the competition?

How to attract thrifty shoppers

Thrifty shoppers may not have gift cards at the forefront of their minds. They may be on a mission to purchase a particular product. Got any best-sellers that you’re expecting to fly off the shelves this Black Friday? Offer a free gift card of a certain value with specific purchases or if a customer spends over a certain amount online or in-store.

Offering gift cards as a promotion rather than a discount may just give you the edge over a competitor with equally competitive deals. It also rewards loyalty and builds a relationship between you and that customer. Plus, with free money in their pocket, that customer is likely to return in the future to make an additional purchase using said gift card.

You should also consider applying terms and conditions on gift cards purchased during Black Friday that stipulate that they can only be spent after Black Friday, or even extending it out until after Christmas. This way, you can be sure that you will regain some value on the spend rather than it being spent during peak sales periods.

If your gift card systems can’t support these types of capabilities, perhaps it’s time to consider better options. Savvy customers are winning when it comes to Black Friday and maximising gift card sales without impacting margins.

Direct cash-adjacent value is often higher impact than variable discounting. Get marketing in advance to capture thrifty shoppers at their research stage and put yourself at the top of their Black Friday hit list. You could even start your Black Friday gift card promotions early to tempt these well-prepped shoppers in before other brands start competing for their business.

Sustainable shoppers

For the sustainable shoppers amongst us, the packaging and delivery emissions that come with the consumer madness of Black Friday can cause heads to start spinning. In today’s consumer landscape, sustainable shoppers are an ever-growing part of any customer base. Every brand should be considering how they can attract these types of consumers, particularly during these peak shopping seasons.

How to attract sustainable shoppers

Digital gift cards offer a sustainable way for these shoppers to enjoy Black Friday sales without compromising on their ethics. Plus, research shows that shoppers prefer to do their Black Friday shopping online, so focusing on the online sale of your gift cards won’t go unnoticed.

With no physical product to handle or have delivered, digital gift cards have no carbon footprint. Not only that, but the level of choice they offer when gifted to a recipient reduces the risk of purchasing something unwanted, in turn reducing product waste.

A 2022 report found that there is a sharp increase in the number of people who have adopted a more sustainable lifestyle in the past 12 months, and this is increasingly seeping into buying habits. Sustainability is no longer a buzzword. It’s an important part of what many consumers are looking for. And these consumers seek to align themselves with brands that share their morals and values. By prioritising sustainability and using this angle to market your gift card programme, you unleash the potential to increase brand loyalty and win the return business of these shoppers for years to come.


Win with Savvy

It’s time to start doing everything possible to prepare your business for Black Friday. This Black Friday and every other day of the year, Savvy customers can utilise our complete gift card programme visibility and in-depth data analytics to help them maximise their gift card sales and understand their customers and their gift card (buying and spending) habits more than ever to ensure success year after year.

You can win with Savvy with our gift card processing and retail data analytics services – the perfect combination to help take your gift card programme to the next level. Want to find out how Savvy can help you to control and reduce costs, grow your revenue and improve your performance? Get in touch to request a callback and let us bring clarity to your gift card programmes.

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