As Christmas approaches, have you thought of marketing gift cards?
Gift cards were a massive hit last Christmas season, generating millions in sales for marketers.
For some Direct Marketing Update readers, gift cards may not be appropriate. But before you discard the idea, think about it carefully… Is there a way you can use gift cards for your product or service?
Last year, 70% of Christmas shoppers bought gift cards…to the tune of $31 billion dollars. No small change.
Here are some reasons gift cards could benefit your bottom line:

  • It’s an excellent form of marketing and advertising since your logo is on the card.
  • They expand your sales opportunities. Your card can be sold in locations besides your retail store such as a website, a catalog or even another retailer. For example, gift cards for Nordstrom, The Gap and Home Depot are sold in grocery stores (one grocery chain actually advertised that they carried more than 200 different gift cards).
  • The gift card recipient often spends more than the card’s value. This means higher overall sales.
  • A person who receives your gift card may have never heard of your catalog, website or store and this is a positive way to introduce your company.
  • Many times people don’t even redeem them, generating additional revenue for your business. Consumer Reports found that an unbelievable 19% of the value of gift cards went unused. This translates to massive profits. Best Buy reported a $43 million gain in one fiscal year from cards that hadn’t been used in two or more years. Unredeemed cards are “found money.”

How can gift cards fit into your direct marketing plan? You could send out a special email or direct mail promotion for a gift card. Another idea would be to put a prominent section for gift cards in your catalog or on your website.
Clothing retailer LL Bean devoted the entire inside cover of their catalog to gift cards. Banana Republic now offers an online gift card that you can print out and use in the store. And Cabilla will allow their you to use the gift card to order online, over the phone, or make purchases in their store.
More and more companies are jumping on the gift card bandwagon (with great success). What are your thoughts or experiences? I’d love to know. Email me at