The back-to-school season occurs every year. Millions of children return to school, moving up to the next grade, providing a fresh start and a chance to make new resolutions. It’s also a time for relocations. Between June and August, there is a surge in moves as parents take advantage of the long vacations to find new homes in new cities while ensuring their children’s education remains uninterrupted.
In short, the back-to-school season signifies change, accompanied by the need for new supplies and services. During this period, e-commerce experiences a peak in sales, presenting an opportunity to highlight the gift card service.
E-commerce and the back-to-school season: the figures
As early as the end of July, back-to-school shopping begins and gains momentum from the second week of August. This period coincides with the disbursement of the Back-to-School Allowance (Allocations Rentrée Scolaire). At this time, consumers actively seek clothing, technology and computer products, school supplies, books, and everything related to the home and its surroundings.
In 2020, the average budget for back-to-school in France was set at €360, but today, with price increases and inflation, this amount reaches around €450. Stationery expenses reached a total of €625.2 million between July and August 2022, accounting for an average of 30% of the annual turnover for brands in this sector.
Among those who excel are, of course, large grocery stores (GSA), although they face competition from Hypermarkets, Supermarkets, and Stationery & Office Superstores.
Why and how to promote your gift card service?
A peak season calls for promotional and commercial operations. The most well-known approach is to create attractively priced products to generate foot traffic in stores. Once there, consumers will seize the opportunity to buy other products, which is where brands can boost their sales.
However, there are other commercial operations that can make a difference in the face of competition, especially when related to gift cards.
The gift card, an opportunity to offer the brand
The gift card service is a practical way for the circle of young parents, such as grandparents, uncles, aunts, and friends, to provide additional support in organizing back-to-school preparations. The gift card is a gift that never fails to please. It’s quick to purchase, with a variable amount, and provides access to the entire catalog of the issuing brand—a genuine helping hand.
Therefore, it’s essential to promote this service to offer ideas to those seeking assistance and to demonstrate that the brand has its own gift card service.
Promoting the gift card on your e-commerce website for back-to-school season
First and foremost, make the gift card visible on your website, starting from July until the end of September. How can you achieve this?
Place a link in your main menu at the top of the site. The easier it is to find the service, the better.
Create a banner on your homepage, highlighting the benefits of the gift card: simplicity, speed, personalization, and a reliable choice. What could be better for the back-to-school season?
If you have a dedicated “back-to-school” page with a collection of product suggestions, consider displaying the gift card service there. It can be useful in any circumstance.
Lastly, adjust your out-of-stock system. During peak sales periods, the chances of running out of stock increase. In addition to asking for an email address to notify customers of restocks, why not offer a gift card as an alternative? This can increase the likelihood of the consumer staying with the brand and making a purchase.
Gift card service branding
For a cohesive and unified experience, it is essential to redesign your gift card order page to align with the back-to-school season. This could involve revising the text and creating new visuals specifically tailored to the back-to-school theme.
Launching marketing campaigns for the back-to-school season
Finally, promote your website beyond your online platform. On social media, run parallel campaigns, with a specific focus on highlighting the gift card and its benefits, all in line with the back-to-school theme.
Via email, inform your customers about the availability of your gift card service and emphasize that it is the perfect time to give a helping hand to their loved ones, ensuring a smooth back-to-school experience.
On search engines, employ advertising strategies to showcase your gift card service effectively.
The gift card as a marketing tool
In addition to being a service, the gift card also serves as a marketing tool. It can be utilized to drive customer acquisition or retention, act as compensation for customer service, and more. There are several marketing actions that can be launched.
Special back-to-school offer based on the gift card
There are two ways to offer a promotion based on the gift card.
The first is to directly offer discounted gift cards. For example, consumers can purchase a €50 gift card for €40. Taking Bruegers, a fast-food chain, as an example, they created a campaign targeting all graduates by offering a 20% discount on gift cards. The target audience is not the graduates themselves but rather their loved ones. The main message is “Treat your graduates and offer them a good lunch with a gift card.”
The second way is to offer a gift card for any purchase of a product or for any shopping cart amount. Let’s take Apple as a direct example. Every year, Apple launches a special back-to-school offer called “Back to School,” which is distributed in several countries. Their goal is to ensure that students are equipped with Apple products.
The offer is as follows: with the purchase of a Mac or an iPad, the brand offers a €150 gift card in France or $150 in the United States.
The advantage: Students will have a gift card to spend again at Apple, encouraging them to continue equipping themselves.
Launching a gift card-themed contest
During this significant period for e-commerce, a contest can be interesting. Launched through social media and/or the website, the brand could offer one or more gift cards as prizes.
This mechanism has a dual advantage:
- The contest showcases the gift card and the gift card service.
- If the rules involve sharing the post or creating a post about the brand for back-to-school, then this contest will reach the followers’ friends and potentially acquire new customers.
Ideally, the contest should be organized before the back-to-school period. The winner will then come to spend their gift card within the store, and they may end up spending beyond the gift card amount, which is known as the supplementary payment. This results in additional revenue for the brand.
Creating partnerships with influencers and gift cards
To attract consumers to their brand, it is interesting to collaborate with influencers whose community consists of young parents with school-going children. In addition to compensating the influencer, why not offer their community a gift card to win? It’s a great way to motivate the influencer to create content around the brand.
Launching marketing campaigns with distributor and retailer partners
In a comprehensive gift card program, brands work on both the B2C and B2B channels. The B2C channel involves offering gift card services to consumers to give the brand as a gift.
The B2B channel involves distributing or multi-distributing the brand’s gift cards to third-party distributors and retailers. This means the brand decides to offer and list its gift card on various platforms such as employee benefits platforms, cashback programs, loyalty programs, specialized marketplaces, etc. The gift card becomes a means for individuals to exchange their points or benefits for tangible rewards.
During the back-to-school season, brands can work on campaigns to highlight their gift cards on the platforms of third-party retailers. These platforms offer different formats such as newsletters, banners, featured products, etc. These present opportunities to gain visibility and encourage end-users to purchase or convert to your brand’s gift card.
The back-to-school season is a prime time for e-commerce. Brands often create promotions based on attractively priced products, but they often overlook highlighting the gift card service or using gift cards as marketing and promotional tools. However, this is an excellent way to diversify approaches and maximize results during this brief period. So, are you ready to give it a try?
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