The holiday season is a strategic time for marketing teams. Christmas is the most important event in terms of business volume, a time when all consumers hunt for gifts. The challenge for marketing teams is to try and persuade them to visit their POS. To achieve their goal, they must adapt to the holiday consumer behavior, which differs from the other months. They must also adapt to the customers’ new expectations and offer an original strategy and shopping experience to stand out from the tough competition.
To do so, marketing teams are not afraid to use new technologies and take advantage of all possible channels. This year, to mark the occasion, e-gift cards are worth exploring.
Successfully including gift cards in your Christmas strategy
Before embarking on marketing campaigns with the use of digital gift cards, the brand’s gift card program must be linked to the existing marketing department.
A dedicated gift card team
Managing a gift card program requires a dedicated team, especially during the holiday season when traffic on the gift card order page is likely to increase drastically. Managing cash flow, payments, bugs, improving the solution, promotion and communication, security, … there are many tasks that require regular work.
And to be able to use the gift card not only as a product, but also as a marketing tool, it is important that both the gift card and marketing teams stay in contact to be more efficient and effective.
For example, let’s say we set up a loyalty campaign to send e-gift cards of a certain amount via an email database. It is better to only enable the card’s creation if the customer opens and clicks on the link in the email. This guarantees the creation of the right number of cards and adds an extra security against fraudsters.
An optimal back-office for the marketing team
In order to gain flexibility and make e-gift cards as autonomous as possible, providing a well-built and easy-to-use back-office interface is essential. Enhancing the gift card back-office experience will allow the marketing team to be efficient and use the digital gift card as a real asset in their strategies and not be slowed down.
For example, if they wish to use the e-gift card as a promotional tool, they must have quick and easy access to a tool that allows them to edit a certain number of “free” gift cards where they can choose an amount and a validity date.
As with all activities, the marketing team often determines clear KPIs. It is therefore relevant to offer real-time, quantified reports via the back-office, which can be adapted to the team’s needs. This is an important feature to analyze the impact of digital gift cards and to identify opportunities for improvement.
When should gift cards be used in your marketing strategies?
E-gift cards offer multiple opportunities to the brands’ marketing team, whether it is for retail or e-commerce. The first advantage and strength of this tool is its omnichannel nature.
Associate your brand with the Christmas spirit
The holiday season makes marketing campaigns special. During this time, businesses try to stay in tune with consumers. Campaigns are intended to be short-term and aim for immediate results in order to come out at the head of the pack. But it is also an opportunity to associate your brand with the Christmas magic. And what better way to do this than with the e-gift card?
Digital gift cards are increasingly popular. The gift card has become a holiday staple and is very often at the top of consumers’ wish list. But most importantly, it is seen as a gift first and foremost, and not as a marketing tool to boost sales as coupons often are. Gift cards are the perfect way to actively intertwine your brand image with the positive sides of the holiday craze.
Nowadays, consumers can easily have access to everything thanks to the internet, and competition is getting tougher. Christmas gifts are no exception. For brands the goal is to make sure consumers come to their points of sale, and several strategies exist and thrive over the holiday season.
Among them: the e-gift card. It can easily be offered as a prize during a special Christmas contest. And the winner will undoubtably visit the brand’s digital or physical POS to spend it.
Another option for brands is to offer a digital gift card with a short validity date as a reward for any purchase (with a minimum amount). In addition to encourage purchases, the happy customer will come back to spend the gift card.
Customer acquisition during the holiday season
Christmas is a great opportunity to gain new customers. However, even when buying a gift for a loved one, the first purchase in a store remains tricky. Fortunately, there are different ways to motivate people to make a purchase.
To encourage consumers to give your brand a chance, and to convince indecisive shoppers to proceed to the checkout, brands can set up promotional campaigns. For greater impact, they can replace the traditional coupon or e-coupon with a free digital gift card of a certain amount.
For online stores, to avoid cart abandonment – which is very common among new visitors – the marketing team can offer a gift card to encourage purchase validation.
With the same idea in mind, marketing teams can promote their brand’s digital gift card program for last minute shoppers. This is an interesting option for e-merchants who cannot deliver orders on time.
Reactivate former customers
The holiday season is also an opportunity for marketing teams to reactivate a base of former customers who have not made any purchase in a while. They too are probably looking for gifts. So why not launch an emailing campaign to invite them to come to the store to discover the latest changes and new products… And to further motivate them, you can offer them an e-gift card with a set amount. It’s an early gift and the perfect invitation for a pleasant shopping experience.
Consolidate the relationship with existing customers
The brand’s current customers should not be neglected during the holidays. In addition to being easier to convince, loyalty costs 6 to 7 times less for equally satisfying results. Since they are known to love receiving digital and instant rewards as part of their loyalty points, brands can consider sending an e-gift card for Christmas to thank them for their commitment to the brand. The challenge is to find the perfect time to launch this campaign, in order to inspire customers to do their holiday shopping with your brand.
Suggestions for further reading
How to maximize your holiday sales until the very last minute ?
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White paper of the e-gift card for Christmas