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Another year begins. And with a new year comes new challenges to take up and opportunities to seize in order to maximize revenue. Brands have to keep on bending over backwards to stand out from the competition. Having a gift card program can make a significant difference. It is a solid cornerstone that enables brands to efficiently increase revenue, attract and retain new customers. Here are key dates to remember for the year 2021.

Promoting gift cards

There are times when it’s appropriate to give each other gifts. There are times, therefore, when consumers are more likely to buy and give gift cards. For that, they need to know when a brand offers them. That is why it is important not to miss the boat and anticipate key moments in a gift card program. For each of these high potential dates, a brand must work on their program, make gift cards visible on their website and shelves, and launch communication campaigns on this increasingly popular product.

The holiday season : a crucial period

Christmas and the holiday season have just come to an end and many brands offering gift cards have noted a significant increase in their cards’ sales. The end of the year is the most important period for a gift card program. Indeed, starting October until the very last minute of December, an increasing number of consumers want to receive and/or give gift cards. It is the ultimate gift, easily personalized and very practical. A program’s revenue can be multiplied by 10*, provided that it is given a boost.

*BuyBox

For 2021, brands will have to anticipate early buyers’ demands, as well as smart shoppers’ in search for good deals during Black Friday on November 26th 2021 and Cyber Monday on November 29th 2021. But also anticipate the 24th of December late shoppers’ needs.

Valentine’s day

Valentine’s day, happening on the 14th of February 2021, is yet another opportunity to highlight gift cards. It has become a tradition in many countries for consumers to give their significant other a present on that day. In 2020, 55% of American consumers took part in this demonstration of love. And their budget was surprisingly high, they planned to spend up to $192, compared to €142 in France. * Even if flowers, dinner dates, jewelry and chocolates are the main gifts, some like to give or receive gift cards from their favorite brands. Cards are seen as very practical for those who are afraid of getting it wrong or disappointing their loved one. They are also lifesavers for scatterbrained latecomers.

* NRF’s 2020 Valentine’s Day spending survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics / Rakuten study

Mother’s day, Father’s day and Grandparents day

Days dedicated to loved ones are always a good time for gift card sales. It can be from brands the recipient already likes, or from a brand they are unfamiliar with but they might like.

Mother’s day (14th of March 2021 in the UK, May 30th in France, May 9th in the US) is probably the most important and celebrated day. 86% of Americans and 80% of French planned on celebrating it in 2020. And they don’t hesitate to put their money where their mouth is. In 2020, American consumers had planned to spend an average of $205* for their mother. Brands, especially flower shops as well as beauty and cosmetic brands usually experience a revenue surge. Offering gift cards would allow them to maximize this growth until the very last minute, especially if digital gift cards are offered on the brand’s website. Just like for Valentine’s day or Christmas, this celebration has many latecomers.

* NRF’s Annual Mother’s Day survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics

Father’s day (20th of June 2021) is certainly less important than mother’s day in most countries, but it gives brands another opportunity to perform. Once again, highlighting gift cards and communicating on this occasion can increase the program’s revenue and bring in new customers. US consumers expected to spend an average of $148 in 2020. 

And finally, there is grandparents day which shouldn’t be forgotten in a gift card program.

Back to school

Although it is not a celebration per-say, back-to-school season is an important time, which can be stressful for parents as well as children. A lot of money is spent in school supplies and other needs. Some have taken up the habit of giving children little gifts to motivate them after the long summer break, or to parents in order to ease the cost burden. Gift cards are always a great option.

Sale season

Twice a year, all retailers and e-retailers pull out all the stops with their promotions. Their revenue increases significantly, although, in 2019, sales revenues showed mixed results. “What do gift cards have to do with it?” you might ask. There are no gift exchanges during sales. Consumers are not looking for gifts, except if they have a friend or a relative’s birthday coming up. That is true, however, in this case, gift cards should not be used or sold as a product. During sales, they become a formidable promotional tool. Increasing traffic and the average shopping basket, acquiring new clients or sparking the interest of older customers… It can be of great support throughout sale seasons and bear results.

A brand that is here for their customers in key moments of their life

Apart from national holidays, every individual experiences key moments in his or her life : 

  • Birthdays
  • Births
  • Weddings
  • House-warming parties
  • Retirement parties

Brands have to take these life events into accounts. Of course, they cannot prepare communication campaigns since these are “private” and individual events. However, they can offer gift cards with a set amount for their most loyal customers’ birthday. A gift card system should always be handy and easy to find for consumers looking for birthday or wedding gifts. Brands should be able to offer different visuals depending on the events, so their customers can buy the perfect gift, and always hit the nail on the head.

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